The Secret Teachers
On this collaborative album, Boban Ristevski from Skopje (also known for his work as Lefterna) and Occupied Head from Hamburg not only transcend geographical boundaries, but also temporal ones. “The Secret Teachers” dives deep into mystical traditions “coming from the ancient world” (to cite the title of one of the tracks) as diverse as “the law of three,” which plays an important role in wicca, and “the experience of Ba while awake,” which takes its cue from the ancient Egyptian cult of the dead where Ba is the name given to the mobility of the soul after death.
Since the 1960s, the Tibetan Book of the Dead has served as inspiration for major works of electroacoustic music by Pierre Henry and Eliane Radigue. By mining other mystical traditions for musical concepts, Boban Ristevski and Occupied Head are working in this tradition. The idea is to use hitherto unknown sounds or combinations of sounds in order to represent unknowable realms, namely “what lies ahead of us” after death. Boban Ristevski and Occupied Head succeed very well in creating a sense of an intermediary zone where being is in a state of suspension – piano notes that seem to echo from very far away into this limbo (or bardo, depending on the tradition one prefers to reference), field recordings from a prior life that gradually fade away as the soul drifts off. Trippy beats that suggest a sense of progress but quickly morph and dissolve like mercury, hinting at the “transformation” into something unknowable. Do we hear sirens singing from the other side of the river which the ferryman crosses with the dead, or doesn't the occasional jarring of feedback and metallic sounds invoke, rather materialistically, the skull drill of the mummifiers? One does not need to be of a particularly mystical inclination to enjoy this album, which does not aim at creating actual rituals. In its openly eclectic approach it can much rather be listened to as a sort of retro science-fiction trying to decipher the “cryptic legacy” of ancient hieroglyphs by means of futuristic sound devices. The result is an unusual take on the idioms of electronic music which combines the aesthetic of French musique concrète with flavours of trip-hop in refreshingly unexpected ways.
File under: electroacoustic music, drone, ambient, psychedelic
factory-produced CDr in cardboard sleeve
Released in 2021
limited to 100 copies
price: 7.00 EUR (excl. postage)
Boban Ristevski: various electronics in Skopje
Occupied Head: various electronics and field recordings in Hamburg
all tracks mixed and mastered by Occupied Head
photos by Occupied Head
cover design by Josep Maria Solá from Almeria
this album was produced between June and August 2020
Once upon a long time ago, Boban Ristevski used to write for Vital Weekly and occasionally release some music (if memory serves me well), and then he stopped writing, but also his music wasn't heard again. Maybe his releases were more to be found in the online world? Occupied Head hails from Hamburg and on this long-distance collaboration, with Ristevski being in Skopje, they take a look at "mystical traditions 'coming from the ancient world' as diverse as 'the law of three', which plays an important role in Wicca, and 'the experience of Ba while awake', which takes its cue from the ancient Egyptian cult of the dead where Ba is the name given to the mobility of the soul after death"; similar stuff as the Tibetan Book of The Dead that inspired by Pierre Henry and Eliane Radigue. Musically they might have taken a few leaves out of the books of Radigue and Henry, but there is a modern-day twist to their musique concrète. It might, of course, be their inspirational sources here, but (obviously, 'd say), the music quite dark. It doesn't concern itself with all the dark drone matter that it could also have but expands on the drone horizon with 'other' sounds. Maybe these are field recordings, or a drum machine in 'The Experience Of Ba While Awake', which remind us of their love for rhythmic music; a touch of ambient, not very house. There is a chill-out character to the music anyway, with some spacious synths, water dripping, a sparse beat/sequence and such like, but it all stays neatly on the more experimental side of things. If you decide to ignore the track titles, then it is just a damn fine album of experimental ambient music, nouveau concrete and a touch of cosmic magic (without the 'k' at the end).
Mit The Secret Teachers ... (Tajnite Uciteli...) (AC 028, CDr) meinen BOBAN RISTEVSKI aka Lefterna und OCCUPIED HEAD alias Dieter Mauson, der eine aus Skopje, der andre aus Hamburg, nicht sich selber. Nein, sie verweisen da auf die anonymen Mythenschöpfer und 'Priester-Dichter' der Totenbücher der Ägypter und der Tibetaner und dergleichen kryptischer Fantasy, die 'wissen', woher wir kommen, wohin wir gehen. Mythopoesie '...coming from the ancient world' liefert dunkle Imaginationen und Narrative dessen, 'what lies ahead of us' (in den Western Lands). So greift 'the experience of Ba while awake' auf, wie sich die alten Mumienwickler in vogeliger Gestalt einen beweglichen Aspekt der Seele vorstellten. Mit 'the law of three' und 'transformation' nimmt das Duo jedoch Bezug auf den synkretistischen Mystiker Georges Iwanowitsch Gurdjieff (1872-1949) als charismatischem Lehrer des 'Vierten Wegs' innerer, harmonischer Evolution und Transformation. Das 'Gesetz der Drei' ist Gurdjieffs fundamentales Universalgesetz, als Prozess einer aktiv/positiven, einer passiv/negativen und einer neutral/versöhnenden Kraft, der das Höhere mit dem Niedrigeren verschmilzt, um das Mittlere zu verwirklichen. 'Harnelmiatznell' genannt, hört sich das schon deutlich weniger banal an. Das uranfängliche elektronische Dröhnen in seinen klingenden Schüben und herandrängenden Ausdruckswogen bekommt durch Ba rhythmische Bewegtheit und durch einen raschelig und körnig rieselnden, silbrig durchschossenen Vorhang hindurch eine paranormale Beredtsamkeit. Zu weiterhin körniger Schüttung und den stechenden Impulsen kommen brummig sonore Spuren und flötende, heulende Tönungen, als erregtes, aber nicht abstoßendes Ambiente. Zu metalloiden Kaskaden krachen Gegenstände wie Bauschutt. Lange Dröhnwellen bringen das Rieselige und die spitzen Impulse zurück, als aufrauschende Wall of Sound, nein, als körnigen Steinschlag, allemal abwärts. Ins Surren von 'transformation' mischt sich zuletzt die vage Anmutung von Chorgesang, zu fern und unklar, um den Ohren zu trauen. Gurdjieff wendet sich ebenso an die Lebenden wie Beckett, wie Volodine, wie das Bardo Thödol, erst das I want to believe macht aus Literatur lotosgeborene Lehre, Gnosis und Buchreligion. Ristevski und Mauson rascheln mit dem Perlenschnurvorhang, der seit Mayas Zeiten die ultimative Grenze bildet.
Bobban Risttevski is a solo artist from Macedonia and Occupied Head is a solo project from Germany and together they team up to create a mixture of drone, ambient, psychedelic and electroacoustic music and this is a review of their 2021 collaboration album "The Secret Teachers" which was released by Attenuation Circuit.
Atmospheric soundscapes and drones start off the album while the music also adds in a great amount of field recordings. At times the music also gets very avant garde and experimental sounding along with the music being all instrumental and when synths are utilized they also bring in elements of ambient.
Most of the tracks are also very long and epic in length while the songs also add in a great amount of programmed beats. Throughout the recording you can also hear a great amount of electroacoustic sounds along with each song also sounding very different from each other and the music also has its psychedelic moments.
Boibban Risttevski and Occupied head team up together and bring in a mixture of avant garde, experimental, ambient, drone, field recordings, electroacoustic music and psychedelic to create a sound of their own. The production sounds very dark while the song themes focus on Wicca, Alchemy, Tibetan and Egyptian Mysticism.
In my opinion this is a very great sounding collaboration between Bobban Risttevski and Occupied Head and if you are a fan of avant garde, experimental, ambient, drone, field recordings, electroacoustic music and psychedelic. you should check out this recording. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "The Experience Of The Ba While Awake" and "What Lies Ahead of us". 8 out of 10.