MARK SEELIG: The Disciple's Path (2020)
“Astonishly bewitching this is a unique album with the scent of a tranquility that feels good and makes the listening particularly good”
1 Raga Princess 15:12
2 Ya-man 12:56
3 The Disciple's Path 36:00
4 Raga Ayahuasca 10:39
(CD/DDL 74:47) (V.F.)
(Medecine Music, Zen, Ambient)
Twisted reverbs coming from the sufferings of a kind of sitar lay down the shimmering sound shroud to welcome a flute which slowly develops its harmonic strategy. We are in a music for meditative ambiences up until the door of 4 minutes when manual percussions erect a slow rhythm of a hypnotic trance. Medicinal music! This is the way to describe the scope of the music of Mark Seelig who offers in THE DISCIPLE'S PATH his second real solo album in which participate Loren Nerell, who sculpt the ambient mirages in the background and the drones, and Max Link on manual percussions. The chants of the Bansuri flute, a kind of wooden transverse flute, are like shadow puppets dancing like flames hanging on a beat more spellbinding than catchy with acuity peaks that follow the rhythm of the tom-toms. Emotion and passion emanate from this flute, while the soundtrack is woven from the resonances of an electric sitar sewn from end to end in order to create this patchouli climate rooted by the ambient and captivating rhythm of Raga Princess' tam-tams, a title dedicated to the shaman's wife; Gabi. I know Mark Seelig by his flute airs that he forged in collaborations with Steve Roach, but more specifically with Byron Metcalf on the Persistent Visions album released in early 2019 on Projekt Records. Solo, his universe is quite different. Playing as much of the Bansuri flute as the dilruba (Indian cello), the electric violin, the percussions and the reverberant effects, he adds to his music harmonic songs as well as elements of ambiences in musical panoramas which are inspired by Indian classical music. Hindu music and culture, as well as the Zen movement of the American West Coast, are also at the core of this album built around the theme of Râga.
Seelig and Nerell weave a bewitching sound panorama here with sitar reverberations which sparkle like thousands of twigs while extending an area of iridescent reverberations which have a power of meditative attraction. On Ya Man, they scramble the static radiance bed with an infiltration of water, which can only be pure, while the flute airs crisscross this web of sound prisms with ethereal breaths coming from a Zen flautist and his Hindu vision. I love what I hear! I'm not saying that I would feed myself on Mark Seelig's music all day long, but there in this precise moment, it flows with decorum. And I still haven't heard the best! Either be, the long title-track. The Disciple's Path is a daring 36-minute track that slowly spreads the layers of its charms. Its introduction is due to a heavy line of dark reverberations to which the peaceful breaths of the flute cling. The drones here are proud of their occult natures and have completely invaded the usual silver shroud. They extend a quavering membrane which hides under the flute's caresses while an acoustic guitar plays a series of notes which sculpt a fascinating melody that one can easily imagine a lonely cowboy playing guitar under the slow trotting of his horse. Besides, these notes weave this ambient rhythm which waddles like two big horse thighs. The mesh of elements weaves an idyllic panorama which welcomes secret chants in the resonant shadows of the notes of this acoustic six-string playing subtly on its drive. These voices blend into the copper lavas of the reverberating sitar. The decor is like that; rich in all the arrangements and all the use of the know-how of Seelig and Nerell. The percussions fall at the edge of the 8 minutes, definitively sculpting this feeling of a cowboy ride on his serene horse. The tunes of flutes, accompanied by this strange absent choir, become the craftsmen of this completely captivating title which tore me from my reading so that I could listen to it more attentively. Raga Ayahuasca had no chance after a such a musical monument as dominant as the title-track. Here, we hear more Indian chants on a more animated music where the percussions seem late on the pace imposed by the flute and the shroud of ambiences where we perceive evasive synth pads. Mark Seelig is more intense, without having the same passion, than in Raga Princess with his flute which imposes the rhythmic velocity of the harmonies. Both in the songs and the flute. Its only flaw is to follow the huge The Disciple's Path, one of the most overwhelming titles I have heard. And one as in the other, all the titles of THE DISCIPLE'S PATH make of it a unique album with the scent of a tranquility that feels good and makes the listening particularly good.
Sylvain Lupari (July 12th, 2020) ****¼*
Available at Projekt Records Bandcamp