Entheogenic has a fresh new album out and it's an absolute cracker too. Titled "A Singularity Encoded", Piers Oak-Rhind continues his now solo Entheogenic adventure to explore the gnostic philosophy and ancient wisdom presented on previous releases. I won't go into the whole Sophia/Christos/Anthropos gnostic background here as it runs to hundreds of pages. We are here for the music - so let's take a listen and see where Entheogenic is at in 2015.
Track 1 - "Oak Seers"
No doubt a play on Piers' own name there, however "oak seer" can also find reference in the ancient lore of Celtic druids. This track is a wondrous introduction to the album. A melancholic melody of haunting flutes, chanting vocals and running water gives way to introspective acoustic guitar reminiscent of the guitar work on last year's "Enthymesis" album. The music peels away layers of consciousness, lifting you up, step by step, to levels of floating nakedness - open and reborn to the cosmos. This is classic Entheogenic - swirling, spiraling synths, deep dubby bass and euphoric signature changes over phased percussive hits. No matter how reminiscent it may be of the Entheogenic of old it's also refreshingly new - it's big, bold and a thousand times more organic sounding than the group's days of old.
Track 2 - "Hamra-Dum"
Hamra-Dum is a small village on the west back of the Nile river in Eqypt. It's best known as being close to the famous cliff where the Gnostic Gospels of Nag Hammadi library were found back in 1945. This track begins in a similar way to the first track with more sublime acoustic guitar work weaving in and out of chanting ancient wisdom. Acid synth lines fold inward like twisting, dancing, dazzling fireflies before a 4/4 kick is unleashed - hurtling the track on an unexpected ride across time and space. While Entheogenic is best known for psychedelic chillout there is no denying his skill at crafting captivating trance music too. The pulsating rhythm doesn't actually last that long though, it is there more for effect rather than for providing any kind of dance floor experience one suspects. Two for two so far - a very solid opening to this album in all respects.
Track 3 - Star Wisdom Of Bon
Bon is the ancient religion of Tibet which shares many parallels with Gnostic religion. I'm assuming that is where Piers is going with this track and not a homage to rock star Bon Jovi nor the late AC/DC front man Bon Scott. Once more we have a track with a delicate, long build up that creates an evolving atmosphere of spatial entities at play in a causality of cosmic reckoning. The synth lines around the 3:30 minute mark, surfing on waves of cascading angelic effects, are incredibly beautiful. This all suddenly gives way to a classic dub refrain, Tibetan chants and more signature Entheogenic phased elements.
Track 4 - Asherah
Asherah, or Ashtoreth, was the name of the chief female deity worshiped in ancient Syria, Phoenicia, and Canaan. Here we have another dub track. The dub on this, not sure why, reminds me of Pink Floyd in a way. This one has a long build - I think about the first seven minutes or so of the track is spent climbing up and up to that dub groove. Mind you, it's ten minutes long, so there is plenty of time to play with. We have more of the acoustic guitar, crisp, clean percussion and engaging, floating synth riffs mixing sublimely together in aquatic unison. A beautiful tune that doesn't try to take you anywhere then where you need to be at the present moment in time.
Track 5 - Veil Of Isis (Lucy In Dub Mix)
The ancient Egyptian Goddess, Isis, is said to have presented a veil to mankind that once lifted, shows the ancient secrets of hidden wisdom. This track continues to explore Piers' love of mixing dub basslines with vibrant, scintillating synths. It's got plenty of that signature kick/big snare at the same time hits that Entheogenic built their early tracks on and a good helping of old school drippy phased percussive elements. Perhaps doesn't raise you up or wrap around you as much as the other tracks but a solid tune none the less.
Track 6 - Psychocosmic Parallelism
You would be forgiven for thinking Piers just made that name up in some kind Terence Mckenna psycho-babble moment however Psychocosmic Parallelism is actually a thing ! Again we are treated here to a lovely extended build up that spans over half the track before blooming, time-lapse like, into a delicate flower made of illuminated dub crystals. It's pretty evident by now that Piers is no longer resting on the past when he comes to creating new Entheogenic music. He has truely evolved the name into an entirely new entity - one that respects where the group came from and is also sparking with a vibrant new feel.
Track 7 - Genuine Abstract
Genuine dub too. The final track is the closest Piers gets to a traditional dub tune with a classic dub refrain extended over the length of the track. I really like what he has managed to do with these more dubby tracks. He hasn't gone for the reworking of the dub bassline into psydub that we often see from acts like Ott, Androcell and Shpongle. He has simply stuck with a more traditional dub approach to the bass line and ensured that the psychedelic atmosphere is held well in place by the various synths, pads and gated vocal effects.
So where does this release place Entheogenic in 2015 ? In a very comfortable position I would say ! Piers has created a wonderful album of psychedelic dub and ethereal explorations of creation myths and ancient lore.
It was pretty clear that Entheogenic were in a bit of a dark time back around the release of the album "Golden Cap" back in 2006. However ten years on, and with Piers now on his own, the name Entheogenic has once again become synonymous with quality psychedelic listening. One can only hope that he keeps hold of this gift, and nurtures it further, so that we all may benefit from his new found organic sound.
Oh, I highly recommend listening to this with quality headphones, lights out and stretched out on the floor. Be prepared to float in the cosmic clouds of the ancient gods for the next hour. A modern classic in the realms of psychedelic ambient dub. Hats off to you Mr. Oak-Rhind !