Soriah (With Ashkelon Sain) | Atlan

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by Soriah (With Ashkelon Sain)

Atlan is rooted in ceremony: ritualism, shamanism, butoh. Master Tuvan throat singer Soriah teams up with Trance to the Sun's Ashkelon Sain to create a haunting sonic otherworld. Central Asian instruments, atmospheric synths and hypnotic hand percussion
Genre: World: Throat Singing
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  song title
artist name
1. Yoallicuicatl Soriah (with Ashkelon Sain)
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5:24 album only
2. Cehui Soriah (with Ashkelon Sain)
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8:06 album only
3. Tonacayotica Soriah (with Ashkelon Sain)
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6:21 album only
4. Temictli Atlan Soriah (with Ashkelon Sain)
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1:08 album only
5. Citlalpol Soriah (with Ashkelon Sain)
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5:59 album only
6. Xopancuicatl Soriah (with Ashkelon Sain)
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8:25 album only
7. Atlan Soriah (with Ashkelon Sain)
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4:28 album only
8. Morguul Soriah (with Ashkelon Sain)
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6:15 album only
9. Borbak Soriah (with Ashkelon Sain)
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9:44 album only
10. Tona Atoyaatl Soriah (with Ashkelon Sain)
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7:42 album only
11. Amo Cahuit Soriah (with Ashkelon Sain)
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12:21 album only
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Album Notes
Aquarius Records:
"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.


to write a review

Richard Gurtler

Wonderfully rich, breathtaking and unforgettable sonic exploration!!!
The Mexican-American ritual performer, musician and trained Tuva throat singer Soriah aka Enrique Ugalde has teamed with recording artist, producer and composer Ashkelon Sain (Submarine Fleet, ex-Trance To The Sun) back in 2009 for this truly unique, exotic and adventurous journey. With three previous releases on Soriah's credit, "Atlan" is by far of the giant caliber. This album masterfully bridges ancient and modern, various exotic stringed instruments from Tuva Republic (Southern Siberian part of Russia) are used, like igil, byzaanchy (both bowed) or doshpuluur, plus more traditional instruments or objects like shruti box, clay flute, bells, conch, whistle... plus synthesizers, electric guitar, drums... plus "creme de la creme" of this album, Soriah's highly expressive and mesmerizing voice and Tuva throat singing, with lyrics in Aztec language of Nahuatl and two vocalizations are traditional Tuvan chants. Soriah's voice is definitely another absolutely unique instrument on this album. "Atlan" opens mysteriously and stunningly with instrumental and buzzing stringed performance entitled "Yoallicuicatl", great overture! Then follows "Cehui", brilliantly merging electronics, tribals and Soriah's voice magics into a composition that is, for me, one of many highlights and ultimate classic ready for Hall Of Fame induction!!! Muchas gracias, amigos!!! "Tonacayotica" is again dominated by Soriah's voice, where raw vocals interfere with whispering ones, and gentle mid-paced tribal rhythms and relaxing trancey tempos, all together perfectly boiled and balanced. Shorter "Temictli Atlan" is painted with strings and washes. "Citlalpol" is another instrumental piece, based around solo performances on bowed stringed instruments, have no idea which of them exactly are used, however, they sound highly expressive. Later the texture becomes more layered and active. "Xopancuicatl" is the most active, but very light composition with tranquilly melodious tempos spiced by voice wizardry of Soriah. Truly mesmerizing efect due to amazingly collided warm atmospherics, crispy rhythms and raw voice, another top notch contribution elegantly blending the past and the future!!! Title track "Atlan" belongs to deeply mysterious and ritualistic compositions on the album showcasing the power and mastery of Soriah's throat singing (one of the traditional Tuvan chants). A true shamanistic listening experience at its finest!!! But it all goes even beyond, "Morguul" is one of the highly active pieces where rhythms, melodies and voices create a truly unique blend that can be described as kind of "western tribal ritual ceremony". Man, this is really unbelievable and absolutely phenomenal!!! And the end is not here yet... "Borbak" gets much deeper with tranquilly floating atmosonics, significant flutes and whistles and deeply evocative voices, another giant on this journey! Instrumental "Tona Atoyaatl", that keeps on slower and darker route, with enormously imaginative crying bowed fiddle strings (igil or byzaanchy?), is as much graceful as its predecessor! And just the same can be said about the closing 12+ minutes hypnotizing opus "Amo Cahuit", the darkest droning piece on this 76-minute long pure blissful sacred inner journey!!! Soriah and Ashkelon Sain are true shamans, with "Atlan" at the very top of their virtuosity. Even if sounding totally different with their own, distinctive soundscaping and voice, I think late Jorge Reyes would be really proud to hear and see these guys. Yes, if you have a chance to catch them live, don't miss them, extraordinary lifetime sonic and visual experience guaranteed!!! Last but not least, new "Eztica" album is scheduled for release in October 2011 on Projekt. Now the question is how Soriah and Ashkelon Sain can top "Altan"...? I will tell you in few months. Until then once again, muchas gracias, Maestros, for taking me on this wonderfully rich, breathtaking and unforgettable sonic exploration!!!

Richard Gürtler (Bratislava, Slovakia)