Soriah with Ashkelon Sain, Eztica

At its core, Eztica is a disc about power. Primarily, the power of the voice. Throughout the disc, Soriah alternately shouts invocations to the heavens (“Iix”), shakes the pillars of the earth with the soul-resonating guttural beauty of Tuvan throat singing (“Eztica”), tells cautionary tales by the fire on a moonless night (“Ticochitlehua”) and intimately whispers long-hidden secrets to us (“Temicteopan”). Each carries its own potency, its own sense of ritualistic intent conveyed through the mystic, primitive cadence of the Aztec language of Nuahtl. You don’t need to know the language to feel the effect, which runs deep and pings something primal inside. Eztica is also about the power of music and its effect on the spirit. From the stirring pulse of drums and hand percussion to the electric urgency of Ashkelon Sain’s guitar as it tears through tracks like “Iix,” stirring up a heady brew of equal parts then and now, the music on Eztica is an elemental force of its own. Flutes, zither, and Tuvan guitar all add their own signatures to the sound. The energy here is perfectly modulated between high and low as the disc moves along–the aggressive “Iix” drops down into the hush of “Ticochitlehua,” then rises in the ecstatic dance of the title track, which is absolutely the highlight of the disc. It begins with soft synth chords, Soriah’s voice in an ululating prayer-call rising behind it. Drums move in, and then the throat singing enters. Once this hits, the track will simply own you. This is a perfect future-primitive kind of track, the beats sliding toward an almost club-like tempo, the rich bass of the singing melting across the low end and texturing the flow. “Ximehua” has that same kind of blend, with the added attraction of Soriah hitting the high-register throat sounds, that signature whistle-like tone arcing upwards. And thus it goes, taking the listener from exhilarating dances to spaces of simple beauty like “Chocatiuh.” Here Sain’s guitar pairs with some sort of bowed instrument as natural sounds–flowing water and the chitter of birds–frame the scene. “Omeyocan” features Soriah on flute, placed over quiet washes and a soft, echo-filled guitar line. Eztica is one of the discs that just takes you in by making you think it’s one thing–a potent, tribal-driven work–and then showing you all the sides of a wonderfully talented and thought-provoking artist. The ride is engaging, exciting and empowering. At the same time it can be calming and cleansing. And it does these things in perfectly balanced measure.

Available from Projekt.

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