Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement :: Water Rose Above The Head (Bed Of Nails)

Water Rose Above The Head is a mix of lush, verdant and intoxicating environments conjured through hazy field recordings and an all-pervading uncertainty and fear of the unknown conjured by creepy samples and chilling drum-beats.

It came as little surprise to most that the mysterious-no-more Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement turned out to be yet another moniker for the ubiquitous Dominick Fernow, but whilst his Christian Cosmos collaboration with Kris Lapke is largely indistinguishable from Vatican Shadow material (the shift from military to religious themes aside), there’s actually a very good reason for the use an alternate pseudonym here. Outside of a certain edginess and recognizably murky palette, there’s little Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement material that bears any resemblance to his other output. Here, Fernow is aiming squarely at darkly atmospheric and immersive soundscapes through rain-drenched, murky and even oppressive ambiance.

Since the muddied waters and hypnotic drones of the earliest Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement releases on Hospital Productions, there has been a clear and consistent progression and refinement that marks the latest output as an entirely new experience with a character all its own. This refinement began in earnest with Black Magic Cannot Cross Water, an extended two track EP released on Blackest Ever Black in 2012. Common to all Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement releases is a mix of lush, verdant and intoxicating environments conjured through hazy field recordings and an all-pervading uncertainty and fear of the unknown conjured by creepy samples and chilling drum-beats.

Water Rose Above The Head repeats that format, with both sides clocking in at the ten to twelve minute mark. “These Spirits Are Thought To Live Far Out At Sea And Are Usually Malevolent” introduces beige-skied tropical forest drenching vertical downpour, ominous, threatening, far-off tribal drum beats and tidal-surging synth waves. It is bizarrely accompanied by a machine-like rattle that phases in and out of focus, and later the intrusion of far off police-car sirens.

The focus of “They Shoot Men With Flying Fish And Travel In Waterspouts Or On Rainbows” on the flip-side is far more ambient, less about the music than it is immersive atmosphere. The insistent caw of some giant bird peals throughout, a sort of low motor-rumble and thrum underpinning jets of steam and water spray and drips/clicks, almost reminiscent at times of the darkest moments on Biosphere’s ‘Substrata’.

While Water Rose Above The Head and its predecessor make for highly compelling listening, there isn’t quite enough material here for it to be one hundred percent satisfying. Just when you’ve become fully immersed in the lush environments Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement conjures, the experience ends and you’re carried back to reality again. Make no mistake, the material on show here is superb, but the svelte twenty minute experience does serve to highlight just how badly we need a proper long player of this soaking Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement material. Perhaps Fernow will oblige in 2014 on his Bed Of Nails imprint?

Water Rose Above The Head is out now on Bed Of Nails.

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