The French duo Natural Snow Buildings have become a staple in modern psychedelic music, not only through their longevity but in their distinct overlapping of folk and drone as well. Amassing a wealth of official and limited-quantity releases since their 1997 gestation, they've consistently brought melodic acoustics of yesteryear into the limitless realm approached by many in the experimental underground. Its members have their respective solo ventures: Mehdi Ameziane as Twinsistermoon, and Solange Gularte as Isengrind. Both projects express Ameziane and Gularte's individual whims and forge trails to the marriage embraced as Natural Snow Buildings.
This claim could be applied to Isengrind's latest effort Night of Raining Fire, but Gularte's penchant for atmosphere and expanse appears more prominently than it does in duo form. Embodied in its forbidding Bosch-esque cover, the album is encircled by a particularly archaic mysticism stemming from graceful, free-flowing orchestration and choral harmonies. Evocative and spectral, Gularte's voice doesn't bear any actual words, leaving behind intangible arrangements that confound as well as they elate.
Listeners descend into Gularte's pseudo-medieval fairytale at the start of "Lost Girls," a bittersweet meditation woven by threads of electric and acoustic guitar. This track and its potential cousin "Ascending" are stellar excursions in blossoming psychedelia, though Night of Raining Fire captures more than one tableau. "Valeria Underground" features a series of bowed oscillations as bellows of strained guitars rumble beneath. At an even greater distance from this dark detour are the rhythmic and strummy numbers such as "Lit By The Rain" and "White Bone Snake" which resonate just as hypnotic in each overlapping repetition. Night of Raining Fire leaves such a remarkable impression because every direction taken is not only testament to Gularte's versatility but also proves that innovation can still be made in an ilk seemingly growing by the second.
[Stream/Buy Night of Raining Fire from Blackest Rainbow Records]