Aranos: Bering Sea

Aranos’ latest disc tells the story of Jiri Prihoda, a Czech who travelled to northern Siberia to undergo training as a shaman with the Inuit people. As part of his education, he supposedly spent up to three weeks submerged in icy water. The CD is a musical approximation of this chilly experience.

It’s a beautifully sculpted, hour-long piece, immersing the listener in its grinding metallic scrapes and slow, indeterminate drones: The glacial textures recall recent work by Aranos’ occasional collaborators Nurse with Wound. As the piece progresses, the sounds become ever more delirious. The increasingly hostile environment comes to resemble an inhuman, infernal machine, ensnaring its victim in a network of frozen tentacles.

In a vivid, warming coda, Aranos sings a short, playful song about the experience. We hear it twice, the first time played through backwards, the second time normally. It’s a quirky, oddly soothing end to a disc that has, until then, delighted in depictions of the murky and hellish.

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