27 Jun 2022 - Thorsten
Ritualistic Far-Eastern Psych-Rock | Stolen Body Records | Release date: 22 Mar 2022
The long-gone times in Mesopotamia, the land between the two rivers, seems to be more on a cultural ascend again. Last week we had the premiere of UR, earlier we featured Dakhma and their Zoroastrian Black Metal and now we got Wyatt E. from Belgium. Their latest record, āl bēlūti dārû is surely a mesmerizing masterpiece – one should not underestimate the effect these 37 minutes of music can have on you!
Roadburn, 2022. Thursday, late evening, outside of the Koepelhal complex. My friends Martin and Joe by my side are we standing outside the Hall of Fame-stage which is now a tent-stage. It’s not cold and we are not the only ones standing there, not really seeing much of the stage but nevertheless standing still or moving only slightly to the music wavering from the tent. There’s this Belgian band that is dressed in classical Middle Eastern robes and playing a music that contradicts their even more paradoxical name. Wyatt E. (yeah, just like the Sheriff during the Tombstone shooting, who was portrayed by Kevin effin Costner) play a kind of genre-less, open mix of fusion rock, mid-eastern soundscapes, psych and jazz. The band fits perfectly to the festival, the idea behind it, the location, even their time slot matches their magical performance which lingers as one of the better ones in my mind, even though I hardly saw the people on stage!
Why? Well, first of all, because Wyatt E. has some very interesting song structures which usually follow a kind of regular pattern with a build-up and then a foreseeable climax. Never mind the possibility of knowing what will come next, the band holds in stock soundscapes that you might not have heard in this combination before. The two tracks, both beyond 18:30 minutes long, showcase a band at ease with their instruments and equipped with a canny knack for when a track needs a new element to keep our attention high. Take the opener ”Mušhuššu”, it slowly evolves into more than an idea of music but then it will not let you go but will ignite some sparks in your head and feet. You might find yourself dancing in the middle of the red desert with only some cacti or palms close enough to give you some relieving shadow. The interesting thing about their sound is the fact that they use regular instruments and still sound like classical Eastern instruments like the somewhat hollow, metallic guitar, the wind instruments imitating those from the region which we usually associate with Babylon.
Babylon or Babel, the place which offended the gods and which was then destroyed by them. That tower is also somewhat visible on the cover of the record, when a golden dragon carries what looks like a part of it on its back. Wyatt E. try to play music for the (Babylonian?) gods, maybe they try to appease them with their sounds and soundscapes which have this flurry, blurry, near-fata morgana-like quality to them. The second track, ”Šarru Rabu“is a bit more elongated and reaching more towards the sky but at the same time repetitive as hell. And here we can witness the effect of this music. It just wraps you in its fold and is able to completely gain your full attention, blocking everything else from side and mind. A somewhat krautrock-like, or also psychedelic effect. It’s a little bit as if Can or Amon Düül II had spawned a baby with CZLT and his wide array of various string instruments. The track presents us with insights into an alternative world of sound and yet also is heavy enough to justify talking about rock, as the rock riffs are really present in this track and thus enable us to differentiate between the two. That there are some mantras sung in the very background is one of those details one will need a few spins for in order to really recognize them.
If you listen to this record on good headphones in order to take in every detail the guys incorporated in their soundscapes from far, far away. Does it matter that we do not understand what they are trying to tell with their lyrics and vocal harmonies? Not at all, that is one the few things I am really not interested in about this amazing album. I do not know which Babylonian topics they are talking about, but I am here for the ride into this Persian-style roller-coaster between the buddies psych-rock and jazz-fusion with a lot of vibes from Mesopotamia. Next time I will make sure to see them again, and if necessary I will stay right at the door all the way through. Just like back in April.