The Golden Vessyl of Sound is Yume Bitsu’s fourth full-length album, following Auspicious Winds, Yume Bitsu, and giant surface music falling to earth like jewels from the sky. The album has no song titles, and I will be exploring the vinyl edition — two records labeled Y, U, M, E. Side E is a live recording and not included on the CD release (or this article). It just may be Yume Bitsu’s best work to date…
Time, a curiosity to some, is a mere instrument of the old ones. And in a time far, far beyond the infinite past, yet one bridging this present and that future, the realms were much different. In some songs of the elders, it is told of how the Moth messengers of their distant place once were a great enemy. When the sound vessels were played by bent hand, the outer realms were a great distance, worlds unknown and feared. The sounds did not yet travel on the winds, and the air of the beyond was silent and clouded….
– The Moth Flames of Ruin and The City in the Sky. (Ancient Dryystonian tale)
Slide into effect, like the start of a record. It is a record. A crisp wonderment of entangling horns, soft Dark Side-laden guitar picking, and a voice coming through it all, a good start. Meanwhile, scatter blurbles & gargles tickle for another layer of interaction, the bass guiding forward, outward, and anticipation….
Everything in between the cracks. Even that which we are not.
Singing, and raising our voices, layering them so that all can hear.
The harbingers of this newness, stacked on from generations of otherness. Sonic reaches unyet spoken, but somehow intimated by masterful design, stretching as far as the static can allow. Ratios that do not even out; statistical improbabilities.
This is consciousness and it is one amazing fucking thing. So many aspects of the human soul and where is it to begin? Within artistic expression, within most Western narrative forms, a certain amount of fiction exists, to place the listener in a particular perspective for a duration. Many feel it is necessary to put the human in a form of context within the world. Authors of textual fiction utilize the device of character to do so. The character(s) then induce a plot, which is what the narrative is talking about.
In music, the task becomes something different, especially in mostly instrumental albums, like the Golden Vessyl of Sound. The device of character is taken by a combination of lead melodies, essentially characters taken on by particular instruments in the work. And then the familiar human voice, singing in English, speaking to a particular audience–attempting to communicate something that lies outside of the narrative itself.
The rest of the music here, the atmosphere, the timbral qualities developed by the synthesizers and waves of distortion and drone, make up the environment–the setting for which these characters are positioned in. And thus, “we are” is an encompassing of everything here.
Morning has broken on the Dryystn world. The ritual drum players greet her glorious fingers with a song of summoning. The primal experience is common, according to Jung, to all humans. The image of the human, standing before the sun, feeling a singular feeling and emotion is common to much myth, and can be communicated in artistic works in a plethora of manners. Yume Bitsu, through their collective channeling of the Vessyl, has recreated (under my interpretive ear-mind complex) this feeling. But the morning is not always bright. There can be fog to disrupt the clarity of the emotion.
Distorted piano begin injuring the here-to-fore evolved state of Song 2, while coming to pick from the sand are a flock of seagulls–their call spreading between speakers and inviting the listener in further to this world. But seagulls–in this world? The world of Dryystn? Are the harbingers of sound thus intimating that this world, which they claim to depict, is one where birds also exist? This wouldn’t be hard to conclude, as they refer to themselves as mothmen in this planet of sound, and if there are moths in this alternate world, than surely the gods would permit birds, even specific species as seagulls. I am aware of the sounds of cars driving past here as well; vehicular transport may also exist in this world. They are transmitting; I am merely trying to decode the signals.
We will be together.
We will be together.
But who are we speaking to/about? Who is it that we will be together with? It all started with the death of a woman, Philip K. Dick says in Valis — the death of one part of a twin entity — the reuniting of this split has been the prerogative of humanity since, though they main remain unaware. This duality is not without a third component; one that I am sure could be imminent with the dear reader.
Altered states. Tuning out. Can only tune back in after it is done, otherwise I will not be in the moment. My hands are still numb. This piece is an organic exploration of Tangerine Dream-proportions. But beyond, into the outer reaches. This is music to make you twitch. This is music to take you beyond your dreams, and into the furthest reaches of your consciousness. A park bench to sit on while you trip balls to the most undiscovered of continents. What I can most respect about this music, and it is what I also respect about the music of Tortoise and Olivia Tremor Control, is that it is indeed psychedelic, there can be no doubt that this is trip music to the nth degree — but that they don’t force-feed you their trip.
They want to guide, they want to help you explore your trip. The auspicious winds of their creation are built to guide you to your own dimension, an expression of the vast-active intelligence system. And that is really quite admirable. Their success at this motivation cannot be determined in the common rubric of album review/musical critique. One cannot easily say that this music fails due to any technical aspect, unless of course — the listener is not willing to be a part of the dream.
Did I mention reverb? And lots of it? The way that most HEAD revolutions go, they come in waves. When one person is discovering something (perceptively) new, thousands of others are simultaneously experiencing the same. It is all part of this earth-as-living-entity construct, and when one element bites the dust…
Beyond the outer reaches
Of the city in the sky
The mothmen carried him
On gilded wing
The young prince of Dryystn has died
So sound out, sound out
The teardrops fall from your eyes
So sound out, sound out
And their voices all in perfect harmony, like that perfect moment in Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s “Helplessly Hoping”, only these voices are united, as if in a pact for something beyond being human. CSN knew what the key for the lock was, they just didn’t know where to find the damned door. I make no assumptions about Yume Bitsu, but it does seem that they (and others, all recently) have found the portal we’ve been looking for. It is happening here. Hundreds, thousands of third eyes opening and seeing… what, exactly? The answer many have concluded to is “themselves”–looking right back at creation in the eye, another eye, looking back at creation. I don’t believe anything is so simple. I have no answers to what I’ve seen and heard and felt. But I’m filling with more information every day.
I do think this is my favorite “song” within the context of it being a song, a piece of music that I am listening to, right now, in this space-time. And the I being defined as that piece that I can identify as me as liking something…
This is the surface music. The expression of a particular (perhaps planetary) service inside the mythos conveyed by the Dryystn. Instead of feebly expressing this in my words, I will bring some quotes out from the included short fiction (treatise?) included within this double-LP’s bindings.
And again the city was built from the ashes and the smell of despair was unknown to the grandchildren’s children’s children. Fierce soldiers were trained and intricate systems of defense and destruction were built through the known lands. The elders’ songs rang of victory and triumph. The greatness of the city grew unbounded….
It is unclear how many times this occurred, but over and over again the city was built with new technologies of hope and again and again the Flames of Ruin followed the coming of the Moth. The ancient markings and records that can be understood count over a million cycles of Moth fire. But within this destruction was a secret yet unfound.
These songs have risen from improvisation. No one entity is expressed, only collectively and within the moment can the true nature of their expression be released.
We are returned to that wining, wobbly sound that makes up the bulk of Landing’s sonic escapades. But there is an element here that is new to this album. Brass instruments, allowing a rounder, more… resonate sound to devour the tonal experiments. It sounds like a foghorn blowing through a sea of distortion, and then falling down a garbage disposal. There is a cello at my right ear. Yume Bitsu have explored this improv environmental ambient stuff on every album so far, and while it hard to judge as being good or bad–the listener (here, me) desires something new in the mix. The added horns and strings certainly provide that newness.
There is a calling to it, something plaintive and wistful, like a lone elk climbing a mountain, looking for a mate and finding nothing but dust. It does not remove this listener from the piece either, to be able to intellectually recognize the horns as being horns, because like most listeners and avid readers of fiction (in this case aural fiction) I hold a certain amount of suspension of disbelief. These are space aliens! Six-headed cow-beings from another planet! Or just humans in some crazy space age jazz band, playing the last few notes at the restaurant at the end of the universe.
Out of the intimated environs, drums and guitars arise; something is being created out of the scattered abstractions, something that can be conveyed by a developing sense of rhythm and cadence. The bass begins penetrating, and the listener readies their self for another flight with these cosmic trigger mothmen. Hark, is this bass perhaps referential to the killer of Dryystn? Drums echo. Tones reverse, and the head bobs. Jazz tones and sound demons in progression.
And then the Aum of the world is sung. The allowing of breath to be released from the monkey, prepares for another breath to be taken. And another. We remember this from the embryonic fluid we once guzzled as liquid oxygen, and we continue, here even on our new home world of Dryystn to breathe. Soaring with the mothmen, the air is clean–free of pollution.
It is at this point of the album that I wonder, how is it exactly that the good young prince of Dryystn die? Dryystn seems ideal to me, a world without such things as murder or old age — a world of immortality that I’ve seen in my own experiences, the dreamtime. Is this somewhat the story of the death of a twin? Did the Prince’s doppelganger die in our representation of reality, that which we call consensual, here on Earth, far below the city in the sky? Idle questioning yes, but worth questioning indeed.
Old-skool beats for all! Feel the boogah-woogah in her brown sugah. The funky sounds of love are out of sight, and the guitar is dancing a waltz all night long. This is music of conclusions, a rising from the sleep/dream and awaking back into the real world, now carrying some kind of new knowledge.
All that’s difficult To pronounce
In the end, it’s all about communication. I listen, then I speak.
The vinyl was released on May 7, 2002 and the CD on June 4, 2002. This album is distributed by K Records and was recorded at Dub Narcotic. Yume Bitsu is Adam Forkner & Franz Prichard with Alex Bundy, Jason Anderson, Daniel Eaton. and McCloud.
D. Taylor Singletary reviews reality at RealityTechnicians.