Kg.01 | The Keraunograph Ensemble | The Omnipresent Volume IV: Writings of Earth

Project 01

A1. The Searing Field
B1. Screaming beneath the earth

Extra material included in the download:
1. Study for The Omnipresent I: The Spirit Assembly
2. Study for The Omnipresent II: The Tower of Preparation
3. Study for The Omnipresent III: The Great Diagonal
4. Study for The Omnipresent III: Prime Radiant

Recorded at The Pines, Montreal, May - August 2015.
JH | Acoustic guitars, banjo, bass, kemençe, harmonium, piano, voices.
Mastered by Randall Frazier at Helmet Room Recordings.
Vinyl cut by the bricoleur at Bladud Flies!

LP in handmade box set with paintings and insert, limited to 11 copies.
Released 2014.XII.14

Just let me thank James Hamilton — the man behind the Keraunograph venture — for presenting me with one of the eleven (!) handmade copies of this extremely limited vinyl edition. As I’m writing, only two are left so better hurry up. Now I’m telling you why.

The compositional framework where Hamilton quenches his thirst of connection with the innermost underground essence is delimited by a restricted number of (mostly bowed) instruments, plus voice. In the first episode “The Searing Field”, this translates as an Organum-like quaking mantra structured upon a fundamental huge hum from which all kinds of grating, screeching and even sparkling harmonics depart, in search of human cavities willing to let them establish their “inside force” without too much of a fight. The second side features a piece called “Screaming Beneath The Earth” which seems to begin more calmly; almost immediately, though, the realization of another descent into ominous obscurity enforces obedience. This time the music’s pace is measured by a series of resonant piano whams escorted by harsher sounds related to the preceding half (read: droning with bad intentions, and louder by the minute). The perception of a static subterranean choir complements the imminence of danger. At high volume this is definitely intense, not-for-the-faint-hearted stuff.

The LP alone would be worth of attention, however it is important to note that the box set contains a download code allowing you to get immaculate digital files of its content, but also warranting the enjoyment of four additional tracks (duration varying from 11 to 22 minutes). These explore several gradations of harmonic enthrallment via differently conceived layerings of chordal endlessness, occasionally with a pseudo-Irish reel scent (“The Spirit Assembly”), elsewhere out-and-out toxic (“Prime Radiant” — Merzbow would be envious of this one). A couple of reference points to assist the imagination: Jim O’Rourke’s Happy Days, and selected parts of Duane Pitre’s output. Hamilton belongs at that level, no ifs and buts. To summarize, we’re talking about nearly two hours of active entrancement of a very fine brand, unquestionably superior to the large part of the trendy trash released by countless bourgeoise drunkards hyped as the next big thing on a monthly basis.

— Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes

“Vaguely unpleasant chamber music” — that piqued the interest. Vaguely unpleasant chamber music, tendered under the power acoustic interra-gations of James Hamilton — that sealed the deal. Quote, Writings of Earth both complements and extends the entropic and geotraumatic concerns which were the focus of JH’s previous Nebris project (1998-2009), recontextualising them in a textural language closer to his recent work with Preterite (2009-2013), unquote. That's what he says. A less punctilious sort might say it like: “JH whips out a wackload of bows, hammers, reeds, strings and voices, and gets in a big ol’ orgy with David Jackman, plunging desola-ted sorow-s into sultry enveloping layers of rusted-out ornithic forelimbs, adhering fast to the well-primed soundhole, ultimately to render the throbbing aural organ numb, like it were froze to the ground.” (Tried to fit the word “cavernous” in there, but couldn’t manage, me bad.) My shoe is off, my foot is cold, my attention lost suddenly in the expansive, glowing, warmth of “Searing Field”, and, shamed to admit, there’s nothing even vaguely unpleasant about it. Halfway through things take a turn for the dramatic, deepening to a crimson-hued fiery resonance as the bowed metals bleed through their singed, feeding back extremities. This is pretty much as good as drone gets, says I, JH sure knows his shit! “Screaming beneath the earth” emerges in a rather more sedate stream of sonorous ringings and bowings, echoed drift almost hinting at the ethereal — but, at the not insignificant interval of 3:33, a thrilling note is struck, signifying the commencement of a stately procession toward the roaring mouth of an infernal abyss. Notes are struck now in deliberate, rhythmic, succession, unveiling in their wake a host of angeli-demonic voices swelling at the threshold. As the massed conflagration of elemental outpouring surges to a rapturous close one perceives at last the unmistakable screaming beneath the earth, but such majestic screaming! With this ultra-limited boxed set, which smells like a true work of art, one obtains the download code for the LP itself plus four additional studies for The Omnipresent I – III, flowing, I believe, in reverse chronology through to the very first Keraunograph, “Prime Radiant”, which was first made available in digital form in 2013. A shitload of ear-candy, in short. This is described on Bandcamp as “additional work in progress related to The Omnipresent cycle, recorded from 2009 to 2012“, but it is no less fascinating. The aural passages report the progression, in reverse order, from quite primal guitar-feedback densities through to far more lush, full-bodied, un-earthly explorations. About as good a start to the Monkey Year as one could hope. Ook, ook.

— Jason Soddy, Special Interests

Project 01