"Totally breathtaking. Soriah conjures up a haunting sonic otherworld, drifting, dreamy, menacing and malefic, a rumbling, whirring dark ambient dronescape, thick with natural timbre and dense with subtle overtones. A deft mash up intertwined with various vocals, sometimes crooning, alien and operatic, but more often an impossibly low-end rumble, a dense and deep Tuvan style throat singing, buzzing and multilayered, more like some strange long stringed instrument than a human voice. Crumbling and corrosive, but at the same time soothing and ethereal."
Atlan has its roots in the ceremonial: ritualism, shamanism, butoh. Master Tuvan throat singer Soriah has teamed with prolific soundscaper Ashkelon Sain to create a masterwork of epic celestial elegance. The eleven tracks employ a host of Central Asian ethnic stringed instruments alongside atmospheric synths and hypnotic hand percussion to form a simmering backdrop for Soriah's mesmerizing vocals.
Soriah has extensively trained in traditional Tuvan throat singing. Most recently, he was honored as the Third Place winner in the International Symposium of Khoomei Competition, and "Best Foreigner" in the 2008 Ustuu-Khooree World Music Festival in Tuva, where the form originated.
As much as the complex underpinnings of Soriah's music reach back to Central Asia, he traces his cultural roots to his father's homeland of Mexico. Soriah's explorations of Mexico's cities, wilderness, and eclectic indigenous traditions - as well as his extensive Tuvan travels and musical studies there - have deeply influenced his pan-cultural ethos. Soriah's interest in contemporary expression through animism and shamanism, and particular fascination with the Aztec mysteries has all substantially informed the material found on Atlan. Of the album's lyric tracks, five are intoned in the ancient Aztec language of Nahuatl, while two others are interpretations of traditional Tuvan chants.
Producer/instrumentalist Ashkelon has crafted the album's sound with a seamless, ambient quality, harkening equally to the symphonic and the etherealesque. Arranged in spellbinding tempo, the tracks vary in structure from linear, North Indian styled ragas to rhythmic, esoteric songs to multilayered walls of ambient beauty, all the while retaining an unwavering sense of spiritualism and timelessness.
Atlan is a ritualistic sound adventure. You emerge from a listen with your head swaddled in a pre-linguistic fever dream. Vocals and whispers collide and chase each other through the mix and just when you start to feel comfortable or certain of the terrain, another movement begins and you're back in the mist. With closed eyes, envision vast steppes illuminated by firelight, or rain falling in deep space, or vanished civilizations - ancient and mysterious yet curiously modern.
The Portland musician and ritual artist known as Soriah (a.k.a. Enrique Ugalde) first came into being more than 10 years ago. His unique vision has evolved to draw equally from performance and musical traditions both modern and ancient--- raga, shamanism, the revisionist arts of electro-acoustics, noise, butoh, and free improvisation. Through costume, movement and meditation Soriah evokes an otherworld of profound mystical import. Though the settings for his performances have ranged from arenas, concert halls and churches to swamps, caves, tree tops and even an abandoned nuclear reactor, his project carries its own sense of place and time, which transcend the concrete world.
The previous recorded works of Soriah include numerous limited edition hand made CDs, as well as two full length albums released by Beta-Lactam Ring Records entitled Chao-Organica in A Minor and Ofrendas De Luz A Los Muertos. Atlan is Soriah's third retail release.
::: Ashkelon Sain in his own words :::
I am a consummate recording artist, music producer and composer. From 1993-2001 I led the critically acclaimed Darkwave band Trance to the Sun, and more recently I performed as a member of the Portland psych-goth group Submarine Fleet. Through the past two decades I have participated in extensive collaborations with other artists I deem unique and intriguing, among them Scarlet Slipping, Cinema Strange, Dead Fly Ensemble, Claire Voyant, and most recently, Soriah.
My interest lies in creating high-quality musical recordings that echo landmasses, oceans, rivers and phormations. Through the use of soaring melodies, hypnotic rhythms, and chilling chords, I strive to render music that transcends the space and time of its creation: a music that succeeds in exuding a feeling of insistent otherworldliness.