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THOMAS WATKISS - ANCESTOR - PHASE I SILENCE - CD

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$12.00
VII08CD
THE SEVENTH MEDIA [USA]
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From the Heathen Harvest review of the CD version by TraXteR
http://www.heathenharvest.com/article.php?story=20080828064159936

If you take a look in the inner right-hand panel toward the bottom of the digipak that contains "Ancestor" you will find the words: "Phase 1: Silence is dedicated to the memory of Sitting Bull". Now we've tied in the title? Thomas Watkiss has created an extraordinary album. Not only because it is so well composed, or because it is sonically diversified, unique, and methodically arranged? What I feel is the best quality of this album is that it is true to its purpose, and rich in its integrity. Listen closely and it is easy to realize that this offering was indeed made with love.

So many of the tracks on Phase 1 are true to their presentation, and a good example of this is that the sounds often times are a musical reinterpretation of the title. The opening track, "Heat Of Dead Earth" uses what sounds like a highly filtered subtractive synth to harmonize with whatever mental picture one may conjure from the songs name. So does the arpegiated synth bleep series contained in "Locusts" (think early Kraftwerk, or the early Fairlight sequencers, courtesy of the late, great Robert Moog). The entire work is highly atmospheric, dark, but yielding. The tracks are solid because their emotional quality is brought out by the adequately layered structure presented. Even the most minimal of tracks, such as "Silence/Fall" and "Silver Heathen Symbol" are not boring, but contemplative. This album tells a story, and the interpretation of its close is unexpected but definitely where it belongs. The second to final track, "Extinct" became my favorite as it is as doom-laden as the title, but true the albums own method. An undulating and panning synth wave is slowly swallowed almost completely whole by a heavy guitar passage not unlike something Adrian Belew could spit out. Every subtle, tiny little nuance of Mr. Watkiss's chord strikes comes across in the mix, which is consistently clean throughout the entire work.

This is an album of high caliber, and those who do check it out and like it can also look forward to the release of Phase II: Machine, which is currently in the works. It is a noble tribute, one that brings an awareness of a legacy, but is also a reminder of a dying culture, torn to shreds by the avarice of the United States government. Oppression and racism may have been a force of doom to a tragic extent for Native Americans, but it is incredible to know that there are great people like Mr. Watkiss who can provide such an effective and strong voice for the slaughtered tribes...

GENRE: EXPERIMENTAL, DARK AMBIENT
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