Boomkat Product Review:
Vinyl premiere of Zoviet France’s 1987 LP - previously only available on tape and CD as the 3rd part of the ‘Charm, Ceremony, Chance, Prophecy’ tetralogy - spread out and cut across an LP and 7”
In line with the incremental shifts of their work from 1982’s ‘Garista’ to this point half a decade later, on ‘Loh Land’ the Northumbrians pursue a much more tempered, monotonic version of their cranky early selves. Taken in context of their enigmatic ethos, the album’s mixture of droning, Subcontinental and Mid/Far Eastern chants and jangling instrumentation is symptomatic of a sort of back-pedalling, perpendicular evolution/regression along their own axis that in some ways sees them metaphorically dredge the North Sea and speculatively reclaim Doggerland (the long sunken land bridge between the island of Britain and northern Europe) as a vast confluence of ancient ritual practice. Well, that’s what it sounds like to we, at least.
Grubbing around at the square root of dark ambient and post-industrial styles, ‘Loh Land’ really sounds like it was transmitted from another dimension or planet entirely. Intelligible traces of South East Asian voices meet bluntly harmonised flutes and grinding texturhythms in the opening ‘East Taunts West’, before the A-side vacillates a number of relatively succinct vignettes going between wispy midnight airs and fusions of tribal drums and horns that sound like a proto-echo of live rave recordings as much as ancient blasts of rave, along with pieces that draw links between gaelic/British folk and its counterparts of the opposite side of the world.
The 2nd side is dead special. From the skeletal patter of ‘Trom Eldr’ and their invocation of pitched up cries and cockerel-like hollers in ‘Vlaag’, they calve off into the utterly captivating drone expanse of ‘Reson Deaw Gwalch’, which sounds like a choir of Welsh miners singing from the base of mine shaft, while the bone-rattling rhythms of ‘Lang Mark’ lead outwards into the flanging proto-techno ambience of ‘Film - Perversion Of Magnitudes’ and ‘Film - Flicorian’, and the return of this mental voice in ‘Vlaag Morgen’, while the jagged clangour of ‘Gathering Nostoc’ is highly prescient of styles found on Hen Ogledd’s ‘Bronze’, which patently shares something of a thing for imagining ancient sounds.