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Daniel Kemp - 'Invocation' 5 of 5 stars

Joyful morbidity is thine, once the Invocation begins. This unusual Dark Ambient compositional work starts with electronic accompaniment to the voice of composer Daniel Kemp, who expresses his love and adoration of... Death, Charon, the Reaper, the Angel Azrael. This invocation sets the tone for the entire album, which is clearly intended to assist meditation: peaceful, mellifluously dark, ponderous. Always there is a sense of a solitary voice, searching for that one Angel to arrive on his black wings. Now that you know what it's about, how's it done? The compositions are filled with imagination and latent power, never self-aggrandizing nor overpowering but always possessed of simplicity, great nightlike atmosphere and a humility that cannot be mistaken for anything less than heartfelt love and spiritual yearning. Does that mean that the music is about suicide? Not in the least. The message is that of a child of Azrael calmly and expectantly awaiting a great cosmic entity to arrive in wonder and splendor in his own time, like a youngster calling out to an approaching parent across a great plain. In this case a child is calling out to an Angel across time and the shroud between worlds. Several of these pieces have been with us a while and have received a wonderful re-expression. Daniel Kemp has shared early version of a few of these pieces for some time on his website, co-authored with his beloved wife Leila Wendell. Together they are the creators and curators of the House of Night, a Museum of Death located in New Orleans, Louisiana. The website alone is something to see, and I frequent it myself, but as those who know me will tell you: I can't not frequent a website called Westgate Necromantic! Back to the CD: the pieces are thematic, each with simple, expressive names like 'Night Rise', 'Starlight', 'Spirits', 'Amongst the Stars', 'Unfolding Within', and each is aurally expressive of that titular concept. These are true sound-sculptures by someone who has been imagining this project and its execution for many years. This album is not hastily done, and it's not a cookie-cutter, common thing. It is an individual masterpiece. Every sound is lovingly nuanced, because the composer really is speaking to somebody. Everything is composed by synthesizer, but the sounds are so organic and the music so moving that the listener never considers this issue. The music is textural, atmospheric, powerful and alive, and it seems to come to the mind directly from the void, without the mortal, human degradation of its true concept via mimesis. Some of that world past this one seeps into ours, while we're listening. As meditative musical works go, this one compares confidently with anything by David Arkenstone or Kitaro, and is made to order for us Darklings. It clocks in at just under an hour, and passes from theme to theme with unity and without any jarring incongruity. There is in fact a companion book of meditational writings also by Daniel, also available from Westgate: 'The Book of Night', samples from which can be read on the site, linked at the end of this review. Finally, this will clear your head. While it is dedicated to Death, it will not give you the creeps nor put you off with prurient morbidity. It is beautifully, wonderfully Nightlike. It is like dark skies with stars and moonlight. It is like final contentment. The promised link: Get there and give Azrael's children some love, you damn verticals!

The Alienist

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by The Alienist

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