T’IEN LAI: DA’AT CD Monotype Records
Phillip K. Dick enthusiasts will recognise T’ien Lai as a brand of cigarettes from one of his novels and yes this is where this artist got the name, which translates as ‘Heavenly Music’. Whether this bands music can be described as heavenly is up to the individual. What it is however is a brutal and traumatic voyage into electronic noises, droning guitar ambience and static radio frequencies.
Clever utilisation of melody is what sets this release apart in a lot of ways. There is a touch of the psychedelic that lends a hand in setting this act aside from what I initially expected (because of the press release) and rather than Sunn O))), we have something more alternative than the impending doom and gloom I anticipated.
‘Da’at’ has a sense of ritualism about it and where I would normally find myself irritated, I found myself mesmerised and captivated as to what would come next. This album does have its fair share of the visceral, but is tempered by eastern reverberated chants that meld the entire experience well.
Not for the impatient, T’ien Lai’ move along at a necessarily slow pace, allowing atmosphere to creep into the cracks and crevices of space, oozing generous folds of sound manipulation that build into colossal monoliths of ranging noise.