I often hear people decry what, for them, is the fact that there is “no good new music out there”. This is something that I am a little incredulous about because I don’t seem to be able to keep up with the excellent new sounds that are coming out all the time, both digitally and on various physical formats… including a surprising, but welcome, cassette revival. Included in that cassette revival, but also releasing albums on vinyl has been Daniel Foggin, aka Smote, who, until very recently, I’m sorry to say, I had not had a chance to listen to.

When I did finally hear his ‘Bodkin’ album (see below), which came out on The Weird Beard label, I was somewhat blown away by it… and couldn’t believe my luck when Foggin recently advertised a couple of copies he’d found down the back of his sofa… I was only too happy to snap one up. All this is a round about way of saying that I really wanted to get ahead of the curve on the next Smote release, which is why I’ve been very contentedly listening to the new one which is out on Rocket Recordings in early October 2021.

‘Drummon’ was originally a two-track (each of around fifteen minutes) digital release back in March 2021, but has now been augmented with two further numbers to make it into a full length vinyl release… and I have to say that you wouldn’t really notice if you didn’t know… and even then it’s arguable whether the joins can be seen.

The two original tracks now bookend the album, which kicks off with ‘Drummon Part 1’ and a long single drone with birdsong… as if summoning the listener to begin… breaks through the ether. It certainly chimes perfectly with my pre-music ritual and I can feel myself creating my own space before, at just over the three minute mark, the Swedish style folk/ psych blasters fire up and you are away on a cosmic journey… I imagine it’s dusk on a crisp clear night on my little beach, staring up at the stars as they re-arrange themselves in different formations… in front of me a drummer beats out the tribal patterns that underpin so much of this music… it’s like being in a state of complete bliss, away from the accretions of modern life. At just past seven minutes Foggin takes it up another notch… I feel the increased intensity of my lovely space… an intensity of experience and an increased feeling of oneness with the music… this is first-rate substance free access to higher realms… I imagine it would be also wonderful with substance…. As the track further progresses I feel a warmth develop… I look up and find a roaring fire in front of me… burning furiously as the dervish nature of the music reaches its absolute crescendo… eleven minutes and the next plane is reached… you think you can’t go any higher… but you do… the whole scene has melted away and it’s now just you and the music… tracendent… transparent… translucent… an absolute triumph… and then a step back down to the birds and the drone… the world returns and it feels cleaner and altogether more coherent… Män, what a ride!

I am immediately worried how that can possibly be followed… but ‘Hauberk’ immediately introduces a beautiful flute into the proceedings which gives it that sense of difference… and we’re immediately off on another trip… this one is more punchy and, given it’s much shorter, gets down to it straight away… having already been mentally primed by the previous number I’m now well away with this as the psych renaissance fair takes place on my little beach… soon we’re off and running as the track just takes off in a flurry of chaotic chords each leading you in a different direction… and then it’s over seemingly almost as soon as it started… a five minute vignette of a vision before dissolving once more into the night.

After that ‘Poleyn’ takes us off in yet another direction with an almost ecclesiastical organ leading the way as folk imps cavort in front of me… it’s a ying/ yang of sacred and profane a lovely balance of the rational and non-rational… an interstitial space into which exist and encounter oneself… and, like the previous track, it’s over far too soon… a sonic fragment that leaves a lasting impression.

I have to say that, given what has already passed, my expectations are now somewhat lifted as ‘Drummon Part 2’ begins. Again, as befitting something so long, it begins quietly.. again with what feels like an invocation. This time the simple beat is there from the start with percussion giving it more of an Indian ritual feel… the sort I experienced outside village temples on festival days… it took me back to my time there and helped me to summon my feelings from that time… of peace and otherness… of letting go. This, then, is a much slower builder than ‘Part 1’… but it is no less evocative for it… as you can feel the music pulling you into both it and yourself. I, once again, feel very present as the virtual incense swirls around me creating a fog over the water like a smoke flare as the scene becomes ever more ethereal… I notice the pace of the music… it seems deliberate and yet organic… a reflection of the natural order somehow (🕉)… this intensifies again after around twelve minutes… it doesn’t get faster this time but harder… deeper… it feels like it means it more… again you feel as it it’s at the limit… you’re at the limit… it has taken you to a beautiful edge… the edge of experience… of tranquility… certainly as it drifts away leaving you only with yourself… your beautiful self.

Wow this album is quite a trip… get yourself into the right frame of mind and it is going to take you off on all sorts of cosmic journeys… along with the Upupayama album it’s possibly the one that affected me the most when listening to it this year. I don’t think I need write anymore as the above speaks for itself… blissful!

‘Drummon’ is released by Rocket Recordings on 1st October 2021, and is available here.

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