It’s redundant as hell to point out the harrowing darkness in which so many of us are trapped, but here we are because there’s still just so much to unwind so we can one day feel normal again. Ritualistic comforts have become a way for many of us to cope, and I fall in line with this as I need time alone on weekend evenings in darkness with candles lit just to get my anxiety to remain at a tolerable level.
The urge to dig deep within one’s own psyche and address those demons is something I felt every time I listened to “Argyropoeia,” a split effort pairing Sataray and Zania Morgan, two solo ambient electronic artists who deliver black tidings and penetrating doom that matches the storm in your own mind. Over five tracks, the two artists pull in their own shadows to help you confront the numerous forces that ail you and help you reach out beyond yourself. Sataray released her first full-length effort in 2019 with “Nocturnum,” and she often performs live with Butoh dancers and with other artists, as the mind-numbing music can veer into soft darkness and morbid incantations. Zania Morgan is helmed by Zaskia S. Morgan, and she has spent the past 13 years creating immersive sonic rituals to capture her audience in her dark tidings. Her “Shapeshifter” album was released on vinyl in 2017, and her music is such that it could shake you to the ground, leaving you heaving as you sweat out what’s eating away at you. They’re ideally matched here as they come from similar angles but branch into different directions.
Sataray’s section begins with “Saturn” where morbid synth waves unfurl, and warbled calls sit behind everything like a ghost reaching across planes. Light glimmers before things turn eerie as the melodies darken, and strange calls reach down and chill your spine. Noises then hiss as tension and anxiety flex, sweeping out into a night haze. “Rain” is dark and strange as the track dawns as an angelic mist coats faces, and whispers loop through your mind. The track continues to haunt, reaching out through synth clouds and rising noises, feeling both doomy and elegant, letting the fear chew on your nerve endings. “The Flood” caps Sataray’s selections as noise simmers, the fog collects, and a detached voice calls out, making it feel like you’ve left reality. Listening on headphones, my mind filled with various visions, feeling at times like I was in a dream state as noises crashed around me. Whispers enter the mix as chants flood, pulsating and shifting strangely, leaving you in a gasp of industrial heat.
Morgan begins with “Crepulsculum” that arrives in the deep night and brings soft vocals making its way to you, echoes pulsating. Keys glimmer as weirdness extends its black wings as Morgan’s voice travels wraithlike, as chants swirl, a swarm of sound picks up, and everything echoes and blows away. “Nyx Ambrosia” is her final cut as noise caws and zaps, and an alien formation sinks in its claws, as it feels like war is making its way through the cosmos. Sounds get thicker as a bright light beams through, teasing you with energy zaps as her voice lulls you into a sense of serenity. Transmissions from beyond layer over the rising synth, beats push into your mind, and everything is swallowed by an intense furnace burst that melts the ice in your heart.
Sataray and Zania Morgan are ideally matched on “Argyropoeia,” a collection that captured me right away, entranced me, and made me go back for more time and again. There’s something about music that’s takes you on a mental journey and forces you to reevaluate where you’re standing that can be incredibly rewarding, as this album is for me. Or, you can just take a dark journey along with both artists and let yourself touch the face of the spirit world.
For more on Sataray, go here: https://www.facebook.com/sataray7
For more on Zania Morgan, go here: https://zaniamorgan.bandcamp.com/releases
To buy the album, go here: https://www.scryrecordings.com/posts/discography/argyropoeia-split/
For more on the label, go here: https://www.scryrecordings.com/