Dawn Syndrome Reviews
In a splendid crafted cardboard packaging with bright orange and green colours, i find the disc of Chaos as Shelter from Israel, whose sounds are led out of my speakers straight into my ears for some days now, especially in the late hours. My brain then starts shaping very strong images in which i find myself somewhere in the Middle-East, sitting beside a river and watching the local population carrying water out of a dwelling and drying the clay in the hot sun. A little further an old tredmill is being operated and the sqeezing sound has a relaxing effect on my mood, due to which the heat of the burning sun is surprisingly good to bear. Then vocals sound from a villager that is cattling his goats and passes by my place. In the booklet it is stated that this is an outtake from a vinyl home recording dated from 1950 on which one Isaac Goldfield can be heard who is reciting a Kaddish. If the end of Kali Yuga is announced with this, i wouldnt even have noticed it. The sound of an accordeon is heard. A contribution of Vera Agnivolok. Another contribution is of Helena Dorsht, who sings on one of the tracks. By now the time has come to devote myself to my afternoon prayers. Hypnotized by the contrasts of the all encompassing shrill sound to the other sounds of the near vicinity, i stand still to listen to it…
Chaos as Shelter have made a masterpiece this time. In the ritual ambient on this album the organic and electronic sounds perfectly merge and result in strong imaginative soundcollages. Dawn Syndrome is dedicated to the end of Kali Yuga, the age of iron, which is the final and most negative of four evolutionary Yugic cycles, the end of the world, and the dawn of a new golden age – Sataya Yuga (the age of purity).
Vadim Gusis is the man responsible for the musical flow of Chaos As Shelter and this Russian born musician has risen to become one of Israel’s premier post industrial musicians. Vadim is a very prolific artist having released more than eleven albums since 1999. Dawn Syndrome is a recent recording made avaliable through the upcoming Israeli label Topheth Prophet. Dawn Syndrome is the fifth official release of Topheth Prophet following previous releases by Israeli musicians Barzel and Grundik & Slava.
Dawn Syndrome sees Chaos As Shelter delving deeply into ritualistic ambient music as Vadim constructs a soundtrack for the final cycle of the Kali Yuga. The Kali Yuga is part of the Hindu cosmology belief system and it is explained as:
“According to the Hindu tradition of cosmology, we are now nearing the end of the Kali Yuga (the Age of Iron) which is the final and most negative of four evolutionary Yugic cycles.
Each Yuga is like the season of a super-cosmic year, even greater than the cosmic year of the precession of the equinoxes. When the Earth came into its current phase of manifestation and the first Yuga began (‘Satya’ Yuga, meaning ‘Purity’) humanity was barely removed from its original state of God-like innocence. This was the original Golden Age. As time progressed the planet underwent the influence of a negative descending spiral, and the quality of life in each successive Yuga became further and further removed from the knowledge of truth and natural Law (in other words, ;’Reality’).”
The Dawn Syndrome attempts to capture this cosmological evolution and give it expression through music. Accompanying Vadim on this spiritual endeavor are guest musicians Helena Dorsht (Voice), Vera Agnivolok (Piano Accordian), and the sampled voice of Isaac Golfield taken from a home recorded vinyl disc recorded in 1950.
The music on Dawn Syndrome is a mutating mixture of sacral sound cultivated from acoustic instrumentation and electronic sound manipulations. The album is dominated by singing bowls which when struck with finesse and skill unleashes high pitched resonating whines. This unique instrumental sound embellishes the entire album giving the music a very distinct personality. Alongside the singing bowls is a myriad array of sounds ranging from vintage voice recordings to unidentifiable percussion and sound concrete.
The atmospheres invoked are sacral in nature and communicate a deep sense of reflection and at other times a sense of colliding impressions that give voice to the cosmic forces and currents that define the Kali Yuga. There is a definitive Middle Eastern identity to the music that inspires images of dry wind swept deserts, hard baked clay homes, veiled women, and religious devotion.
When listening to Dawn Syndrome the listner must abandon their sense of control and suspend the rational mind in order to allow you to become fully submerged in the aural atmospheres. With this accomplished Chaos As Shelter gently leads you through carefully constructed songs that bleed together offering a fluid listening experience that though subtle in nature is still grossly engaging. With the right setting you are able to feel the music striving towards the coming age as it sheds layers of illusion while seeking the light the dawn promises. Murky atmospheres slowly part allowing light to stream through the dark hours. Just as the dawn’s first rays begin to penetrate the night the music becomes muddled and abstract once more as forces gyrate and mutate rotating in incessant cycles within cycles.
The music also embodies a vague sense of progression. Rather than feeling as if you are on a linear journey it feels as if you are suspended in a calm center which offers you the vantage point of watching the cosmological evolution evolve, gyrate, disintegrate and reconstruct all about you. Vadim does an excellent job of balancing the sound so none of the atmospheres ever feel heavy or suffocating but rather remain crystalline like clear water. Metaphors of light and water are fitting descriptors to try and identify the music.
Music listeners who enjoy ritualistic and experimental music will enjoy Dawn Syndrome. And it is very likely that this album will bare no comparisons to other music in your collection. This is not your standard dark ambient album. Indeed the music bares little resemblance to other albums I am aware of. Chaos As Shelter has successfully constructed an aural journey that transports the listner outside time and space while navigating towards inner regions waiting to be unearthed. For those of us who reside a world away from this region the music of Dawn Syndrome delivers a dreamlike journey capable of tuning the listeners subconscious into to the subtle vibrations and unique identity of this geographical region and its spiritual culture.
Chaos As Shelter have been around for a decent amount of time, but I think this is the first full length album of theirs I’ve heard. The majority of stuff here could be described as ambient, though the type of ambience that occurs and the sounds used vary throughout the disc. Some of the songs have more of a really ominous and brooding vibe, others are weird collages of drones and chimes, some tracks have middle eastern vocals and instrumentation, and others consist heavily of found sound, and some tracks even have some (evil) accordion sounding stuff in them. But all of the material here is some type of ambient, and the mood created overall is rather dark, if somewhat more cheery at times. The amount of variety makes this disc really nice, and none of the 9 tracks here really sound the same. This disc spans about 70 minutes, but you never really notice, and you’re actually sad to see it go, which is always a sign of a good album.
To go off on somewhat of an unrelated tangent, it says in the liner notes that this album is dedicated to the end of Kali Yuga. From what I’ve gathered, Kali Yuga is a Hindu belief that basically represents a long span of time where the world is decadent, and when the Kali Yuga ends, the world will be more or less paradise. This sounds rather silly to me, being as I am of a pretty nonreligious persuasion, but I find it interesting, and I figured it was interesting enough to mention. Also interesting is that some of the vocals from this album were recorded by a guy named Isaac Goldfield in the 50’s, and Chaos As Shelter somehow accidentally came upon a vinyl record of this recording.
Anyways, to get back to the music, I like this disc a lot. The drones and ambience it creates are really nice; it manages to be soothing without fading into the background at all. This is smart and diverse ambient music that strays somewhat towards the darker side of things, with the occasional ethnic bent included in as well. Recommended for sure.
The first review for a Chaos as Shelter release to hit this website…which is a surprise considering how long this Russian artist living in Israel has been around…but better late than never I suppose. With some very compulsive releases on CD / CDR already under his belt…check out “Dead Air Broadcasts” which is highly recommended…”Dawn Syndrome” follows with the tradition of releasing sound sculptures made from varying sources. Dedicated to the end of Kali Yuga and the dawn of Sataya Yuga…kind of negative vs. positive cycles…the nine tracks on this release is more ritual based ambience for which he has gained a sizeable following.
Steeped in religious imagery and mysticism, the music encompasses organic and artificial sources to create a deeply profound journey into the soul. The sounds of chants used over water bowels being struck in harmony is just one of the components that sets the scene for this rather unnerving recording. The use of almost Middle Eastern musique concrete…where sounds devolve and dissolve…helps brings forth the light from the darkness. Semi experimental in vein, where modern equipment and traditional musical instruments clash head to head, helps the music to mutate in various directions whilst still retaining a sense of balance. Add in the guest vocal talents of Helena Dorsht and Isaac Goldfield, who add a suitable layer of emotional discord, and what you end up with is a recording that reaches deeply into the human psyche.
There’s much to tell about this recording but so little space left to tell it that only by investigating it yourself will you have the full insight into what “Dawn Syndrome” achieves. Mark my words though. Although dark and ritual it may not appeal to everyone. “Dawn Syndrome” needs time to get under the skin. You have to be 100% focussed to get the most from it.
Vadim Gusis doesn’t just create music. He lives and breaths it and this is amply shown here. Pilgrims willing to follow his path will be suitably rewarded for their time and effort.