KHAN TENGRI – Aeons (2016)

AEONS_coverThis album is actually a recent release by yours truly, outside of my usual Gateless Gate banner. The reasons are that there are actual songs to be found here, and the music is more aggressively rock-influenced than the usual Kraut-ambient stuff I do. Here’s the write-up:

“KHAN TENGRI makes psychedelic space rock in a corner of Canada’s northern wilderness. AEONS is unified by the loose concept of vast gulfs of cosmic time, expressed through the medium of kosmische, celestial psychedelia, and progressive rock. The aim of this music is both to enlighten and to frighten, containing as it does a sonic interpretation of H.P. Lovecraft’s classic horror novella, At the Mountains of Madness; an angry condemnation of human-created extinction; a tribute to Maitreya, the Future Buddha; a love song from one tiny, insignificant life to another; and a hard-rock Zen exhortation to drop off body and mind.

Roots and Influences: Hawkwind/ Gong/ Magma/ early Pink Floyd/ early Tangerine Dream/ Popol Vuh/ Jefferson Airplane/ Manuel Göttsching/ Ash Ra Tempel/ Steve Hillage/ György Ligeti/ Morton Feldman/ Yat-Kha/ George Harrison/ Amon Düül II

This recording is dedicated in memoriam to Daevid Allen, who might have enjoyed some of the music.”

More specifically:

  1. At the Mountains of Madness a) Arrival in Antarctica b) The disturbing scene at Lake’s camp c) The flight over the mountains d) In the aeon-dead Cyclopean city e) Fleeing from the horror: An adaptation of Lovecraft’s classic novella about a scientific crew that discovers evidence of an insanely ancient civilization in the wastes of central Antarctica, as well as horrors still living. This track is heavily influenced by Amon Düül II and earliest Hawkwind and Floyd.
  2. Kalpas: A drone-rock piece that features the Pure Land Buddhism chant “Namu Amida Butsu” as well as something of a George Harrison influence here and there.
  3. Dualistic Stomp: Heavy psych-rock influenced by the Airplane, amongst others. The lyrics present images of dualism in the Zen buddhist sense.
  4. The Shining Sea: This prog ballad with mellotron reminiscent of early King Crimson/Moody Blues examines love from a wider spiritual perspective.
  5. No Beginning, No End: Cosmic guitar soloing in an homage to the styles of players like Manuel Göttsching (Ash Ra Tempel) and Steve Hillage.
  6. The Holocene Extinction: More heavy psych with fuzz bass borrowed from Magma’s style, detuned throat singing and a list of species destroyed my man.
  7. The Celestial Choir sings “Hommage à Ligeti et Feldman”: Just as it says, a piece paying hommage to the styles of my fave 20th century composers, with choral vocals and cello sounds.
  8. Maitreya Has Come, and All Is Renewed: A lighter-hearted Buddhist song, with airy textures and vocals inspired by Gong and other fun psych masters.
  9. Silurian: An ambient instrumental that indulges my usual fixation with earlier styles of Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream.

The critics who have been kind enough to respond to my pleas for review have been kind:

“This album wonderfully allows your imagination to roam freely to other galaxies, planets and even here on earth in a full on prog presentation of sight and sound … I think that you will agree when you hear it that it has many different facets of the prog genre held within it’s walls as you journey through the tracks, absorbing it all in and playing it a second time, because it’s one of those albums that just grabs you and sits you down and says listen to this!”
—Progressively So

“‘Aeons’ is a lush collection of songs that have beauty, substance and a vision rooted in a Zen like calm. What Thompson has done so cleverly is take his work as The Gateless Gate; the glacial beauty and kosmische ambience, and has used it as a base for some psychedelic meanderings and musings. It works on so many levels – whether you just want to listen to it….or LISTEN to it – and the messages contained are laudable and holistic. A stunning piece of work.”
-Dayz of Purple and Orange

“Aeons is a really cool listen; it works well as a space rock album but it also shines in its more ambient parts. There’s some striking guitar work and much to enjoy on an album that is equal parts chilling and dazzling.”
-Atom Heart Mutha

“it is so psychedelic that soon without any outside help (well, some caffeine) I immediately felt totally stoned myself (well, in The Shining Sea rather eerily beautiful )!”
-Music Over My Head (translated [poorly] from Hungarian)



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