Boomkat Product Review:
Serial collaborator Drew McDowall's latest collection of astral-traveling synth syrup is a series of mind-melds with some of the scene's most continuously exciting artists: Robery Aiki Aubrey Lowe, Caterina Barbieri, Kali Malone, MSYLMA and more.
The Scottish, NYC-based experimental musician has been subverting the formula for many years now, having clocked up storied work with Coil and Psychic TV back in the day. From the solo opening track 'Agalma I (Folding)', we're dragged into a sound world that's lighter and more elegiac than you'd expect .
From here, we're launched into a heavenly collaboration with Caterina Barbieri, who sings angelically over harp sounds and wobbly synthesizer drones. Elsewhere, McDowall taps fellow synth guru Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe to assist with a pair of tracks that plumb darker depths. 'Agalma IV' is most impressive, pitting seismic rhythms against Lowe's haunting vocals. Another clear standout is 'Agalma VII', which features Bashar Suleiman, Elvin Brandhi & MSYLMA and conjures up a truly otherworldy mood with disembodied vocals and santur sounds peering through temporal mists.
McDowall's original title for the album was "Ritual Music" and that makes perfect sense; these tracks all feel devotional, meditations on a lifetime in music. McDowall has spent his career devoting himself to musical progression and supporting the scene and this collection of tracks feels like a celebration of that career; an otherworldly trip into an alchemical zone that should appeal to soundtrack obsessives as much as industrial music completists.