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Surface of Eceon - The King Beneath the Mountain

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Artist: Surface of Eceon

Album: The King Beneath the Mountain

Label: Strange Attractors Audio House

Review date: May. 28, 2002

“Beyond the outer reaches of Dryystn lies the surface of Eceon, ruled by the grasshopper king, it is a space where time and energy are blurred into a beautiful landscape of sound and action.

Hello moth: please enter into the vessyl of sound.”

And so the tale unfolds of five: Daron, Adam, Dick, Phil, and Aaron, whom together wandered into the outer regions of Dryystn. There with their primitive instruments and expensive delay pedals the quintet created the most meditative mystical sounds ever to escape from the dominion. They called themselves Surface of Eceon.

While the use of the story line may appear at times too “rich” for the typical cred-searching, space and drone fearing bystander, within the first swell of the sustain-delay meld of guitars, laced with Adam’s whispering cries, the imagination of any listener races furiously across plains, hills and lost forests to this magical Eceon. The members of the project, hailing from highly respected and moderately similar arenas, Landing and Yume Bitsu, collaborated at the Landing estate, producing hours of blissful live recordings, but carefully fashioning six to be released through Strange Attractors Audio House, entitled The King Beneath the Mountain.

The opening track is certainly the most overwhelming, elevated and accessible deployment that reached my ears within the last two years. The work embraces the drone and sound-scape backgrounds of the members and past tour partners, but it is rather apparent that the energy of new personal and uncharted orbits was the engine for this masterpiece. “The Open Sea” remains the shortest venture of the group ending sharply after six and one-half minutes, and certainly deploying the use of the repeat function on my home stereo. While I remained enthralled within the hair-raising climax of this track for two weeks, the additional time of this release showcases the longer more developing material that was created with innocent intentions to pacify the listener into a gorgeous conscious state of R.E.M.

The strength and presence of Phil’s drumming and Daron’s bass work, and Adam’s animation is best represented “The Grasshopper King” and “The Council of the Locusts.” The remaining pieces lull slowly within their own, but do not drift into any form of redundancy, perhaps a function of the improvisational force and previously mentioned untouched territories.

This work truly exemplifies the capacity of what both the Landing members might be deprived of in their path and what Adam and Yume Bitsu never quite reach. While obvious in comparison of the latter two bands, the members of Surface of Eceon treat the entity as separate but connected, and as serious as any prior project. Live, the group further elaborates upon the paths taken on the disc, never duplicating and passing into the outer reaches of their melodic improv.

While The King Beneath the Mountain is attempting to bring out the “deep” side of the Dryystn conception, the music within avoids pretentiousness. The album as a complete work will remain within my personal rotation years after my infatuation with space-rock, drone, shoe-gazer, and Dearborn residents declines into an extensive library of artists and live shows.

By Nate Howe

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