Memnon Sa – Citadel review

Citadel cover workMisha Hering, better known as Memnon Sa, calls London home, and his style of music “ancient psychedelia”. Possibly the most intense music I’ve ever heard, this debut album is one that is difficult to sum up in words, purely for its depth and complexity; it is closer to say to say that the one-man outfit has composed a masterpiece, rather than written one. The album is due for release on 20th October via Pyramide Noire Records, and you can stream fourth album track, Heca Emem Ra, below.

Whilst the album is split into seven track over the course of forty-three minutes, it is unarguably a release that should be listened to in order, in its entirety; anything less would simply not do the piece justice. Vocal-less throughout the record, only minor dips in sound and the variation of instruments layered over the oppressive backing that reaches from the opening of the first title track in the second Megalith signify any change in track.

Deep, dark and controlled throughout, the layers that hinted at something folk on the first track merge into sounding more influenced by eastern music for the second piece, which extends long past the nine-minute mark. A handful of chords that can only be described as sounding as though from Scottish rock deepen the track; the fact that listening to this music conjurers up images is no surprise, as Misha states that how he writing songs is very similar to “what a film composer would be doing, trying to create a musical landscape that evokes certain images”.

Part of me hates to admit that when listening to this album, my most prominent thought is “Lara Croft”. In a sense this isn’t far off what Misha is trying to evoke; not so much  in the sense of Angelina Jolie, but in the ancient ruins and relics that she explores. This is particularly prominent in Black Goddess, where underlying hints at world music draw up images of ancient civilisations; in effect, Misha has created an album in a manner and through mediums which pre-date the sound created by centuries. This remains prominent in Heca Emem Ra (below) which hints at regimental, tribal influences, as though painting an image of a ceremony.

Where the majority of tracks on this album hold a consistent backing which supports the track, Eshkigal does not boast such, making it my personal favourite, for the intermittent sound and unpredictable changes. Although midway through a wind-across-open-land style sound begins to add depth, the general delicacy and almost emptiness of the track becomes captivating and earthly. Unsurprisingly, penultimate Titans Sleep does not continue the piece in such a gentle manner, with heavier chords adding depth to the track, making the atmospheric sound all the more oppressive.

Closing Kali Yuga gradually fades out the sounds still remaining from previous tracks, to dramatically change the mood of the piece; lighter, more eastern influences mingle with the same tribal chords to set a temporary tone to the track, before the latter half of the ten minute composition bring the album to a steady close.

This album is unlike anything I’ve heard before, simply. Its dark and dense control creates a phenomenal debut release that – quite simply – can’t be compared to anything. An intense must-listen.

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