Ritual Awakening
~reviewed by Goat

This is, without a doubt, one of the most wonderful CDs I’ve heard all year, maybe ever.  Everything I said in the Mabou review about how the music didn’t take me anywhere is counterpointed by this other work from Skean Dhu Recordings.  This music takes me everywhere.

The journey is inexplicably emotional.  I found tears welling in my eyes for no apparent reason partway through track 2, (“clouds of a christ”).  Really from the moment the CD began, it had my attention and kept it, by dove-like whispers and dark, spacious forebodings.  It has always astonished me how some experimental music can seem so soft on its surfaces, but remain so deeply captivating and intriguing as it floats and bobs and swirls along.

I had said in the “Mabou” review that I hoped the musicians wouldn’t give up.  Not because of my silly review, (God forbid!) but because it just felt like they were so CLOSE to something on that album that they’d simply somehow missed.  The two projects, Mabou and Dolmen, have Steven K. Smith in common, and so I am beyond delighted to see that no, he didn’t give up.  He found the masterpiece.

This work is almost unbearably beautiful.  Profoundly affecting and emotive.  Bafflingly so, really.  I am astounded by the range of sensation, thought, and emotion these sounds brought up from the still depths of my brain as the CD played.  I’ve experienced a great number of CDs and albums in my life-time, (8-tracks, even!) and never felt one quite like this.

The home page of Skean Dhu Recordings mentions that Dolmen are finishing up work on a new album, ‘working title of “Terra Firma”.  I definitely look forward to hearing more from Dolmen and Skean Dhu, and in the meantime, I cannot encourage you strongly enough to purchase for yourself a copy of “Ritual Awakening”.  The CD is a mere $10.00 (not including shipping) from Skean Dhu, but it’s actual value is so much more.  Thank you, Steven K.  Smith and Jason Sloan. 

Really, thank you.

Track Listing:
1.)  in the heat
2.)  clouds of a christ
3.)  ritual awakening
4.)  conversations with ghosts
5.)  i call for you at every corridor
6.)  storms of earth
7.)  white mornings
8.)  elfland::cuairteach