Providing a kaleidoscope of intrigue, suggestion, and captivation, the debut album from The Dark Red Seed is a journey and experience which almost stains the imagination in its creative breath. It provokes thoughts and incites emotions as it lures ears into its shadowy yet seductive soundscape; Becomes Awake evolving into one of the most enthralling encounters so far this year.
The Dark Red Seed is the personal project of Tosten Larson, guitarist for Seattle dark folk musician King Dude. It is an adventure shared with King Dude engineer Shawn Flemming, the pair creating individual realms and intimation within a fusion of dark folk and heavy psychedelic rock with plenty more hues involved. Becomes Awake follows last year’s Stands with Death EP; a well-received introduction to the project hinting at the rich and immersive adventure to come. To use their words, the new album is “a dark, dusty discourse on the departure and ultimate dissolution of life, “Becomes Awake” symbolizes a movement from darkness into light; finding balance through acceptance of one’s own qualities of both the light and the dark; the good and the bad.”
Featuring the guest contributions of Kelly Pratt (LCD Soundsystem, War on Drugs, St Vincent) and Steve Nistor (Sparks, Marissa Nadler, Daniel Lanois), and wrapped in the superb art of Paul Romano (Mastodon, Dälek), Becomes Awake draws on inspirations from Indian, Persian, and Roma music. There is a nomadic feel to the exploration at times, an aural travelogue of the ancient, old, and modern within its harmonically and rhythmically shaped, melody fuelled exploration. From opener Dukkha, the album just sucked ears and attention into its awaiting and awakening milieu, flame licked psychedelic atmospheres soaring over the infectious rhythmic rockery of its land. Drama lines every note and syllable, a web of sound shaping its suggestion, all through imagination and craft.
Lured in by the first, its successor, Darker Days, just ensnared with its inviting rhythmic stroll and dark rock/country/folk swing. Like a psych kissed Helldorado, the song is a warm infection of body and imagination scorched by brass, caressed my Eastern temptation, and ignited by the underlying tempestuousness of its climate and heart. It is a recipe of pure magnetism taken and then evolved again within next up Alap, an instrumental web of threat and discord, intrigue and trespass, light and dark. The piece did convert its prowess into persuasion as swiftly as its predecessors with fascination a quick return for its mystery.
Through the melodic calm and blossoming rapture of Ancient Sunrise and the animated slightly portentous grandeur of The Mouth of God which emerges from it, ears and imagination were simply roused before The Destroyer deceptively saunters into view with a mellow if sonically volatile air. The melancholic scythes and beauty of the strings are a resignation to an impending result, enticing melodies and harmonies a holding of the hand as the track’s protagonist looms. A well of contrasts and emotions, the track simply enthralled as it made its way towards the jazz smoky atmosphere and darkly lit depths of The Void.
Personal interpretation is as easy as absorbing the inference of the tracks, another enticing element as the outstanding Awakening followed infesting and manipulating body and thought and Sukha mesmerised with its melodic heart and transfixing drone; again contrasting textures so sublimely aligned by The Dark Red Seed. The first of the two is easily our favourite moment within Becomes Awake, a stirring and rousing yet hypnotic canter on a compelling dark bassline through crystalline scenery steamed up by post punk breath.
Diana And Ouroboros Dance completes the release, another track which took its time to grow in ears and appetite yet was laying enticing seeds from its first breath to increasingly grow over time. With its heavy atmosphere and Doors-esque roar, the track is nothing less than enjoyable from the off and thick captivation down the line.
That pretty much applies to Becomes Awake as a whole though straight away we found ourselves gripped by certain moments, enslaved by just as many others. The Dark Red Seed is one heart which will not make for a fleeting attraction.
Becomes Awake is out now through Prophecy Productions and available @ https://thedarkredseed.bandcamp.com/album/becomes-awake
Pete RingMaster 24/05/2018
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