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Children Of The Black Sun

Arriving at just about the perfect time (almost a month before Halloween, natch), Children Of The Black Sun is the latest release in the long, bizarre career of Mr. Boyd Rice. Starting exploration of noise and experimental music nearly 30 years ago, he began with manipulated tape loops and noise, and has since moved into the digital realm while still retaining a touch of vintage. A rather infamous prankster, he's seems to take gross pleasure in sometimes annoying his audience as much as pleasing them. In addition to his musical output, he's been known to profess his devotion to The Church Of Satan while simultaneously owning one of the world's largest Barbie doll collections.

So yeah, Boyd Rice is sort of a weird guy, but Children Of The Black Sun is probably one his less-abrasive works, and in places is actually quite beautiful. Churning up the sounds of a dark underworld, it's actually a very short trip at just over 30 minutes and 7 tracks. Composed mainly of lush drones with a touch of dark chamber music, it manages to get under your skin pretty quickly.

The release opens with "Arka," and after a manipulated vocal samples (perhaps an incantation of some sort), dark waves of sound unfold over one another while strums of harpsichord flit about. Mixing directly into "Black Sun," a muted horn blast sustains itself while some of the same sorts of elements emerge from behind it's dark brassy din. It's on "Serpent Of The Abyss" that things start to really get weird, though, as a slightly more industrial landscape emerges, with faint knocks and scrapes, violins, and more thick soup of noise. Underneath is all is a gutteral manipulation of digital noise, churning like a dark froth that never boils over.

It's on one of the final two tracks of the album, though, that some sort of light peeks through. "The Fountain Of Fortune" mixes an almost angelic chorus of vocal sounds with an odd wet trickle and some lumbering background thumps while the short album closer of "Son Of The Sun" is an orchestrated march with backwards vocals tracking over it. If you're a person with a fancy stereo system and DVD player, you'll be happy to know that the release comes in a limited version which includes a fancy 5.1 audio DVD mix of the release in addition to the regular CD, so that the sounds of the release can come at you from all sides. Dark room listening recommended! At any rate, it's a short release, but Rice has been crafting music like this for a long time and it shows. Dark and sometimes a bit disconcerting, it would make a great thing to play when the trick-or-treaters come around...

rating: 6.510
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00