The label was quite surprised when Yumi Hara & Guy Harries requested to be released on Sombre Soniks. Both composers have been working with an impressive amount of artists in the past and make up for an equally impressive oeuvre. In that aspect, this album could have been released by one of the big labels in the experimental music genre. Yet, this release perfectly fits in with Sombre Soniks' philosophy: ritual dark ambient with a touch of magic and a lot of atmosphere.
There's plenty of atmosphere on 'Wheels Within Wheels'. It already begins in the dark, mystic flute and voice opener 'House (flute and voice)'. The flute produces a number of soundscapes which immediately sets the tone for the entire album. The 'House' title returns a few times, once with eerie piano and soundscapes, one being a mystical chant from regions unknown and the final one combining these elements in an intensely frightful piece of dark ambient. These tracks were were recorded live at the Composers’ Union Guest House, Druskininkai, Lithuania in May 2012 and do indeed feel like one lengthy improvisation.
The other tracks were recorded in Japan, during the Sonic Rituals Japan Tour. Yet, the way the'yre interwoven between the 'House' parts is brilliant. They fit perfectly together, even if there's two years and a completely different culture between them. Title track 'Wheels Within Wheels' shows even a more experimental side, using strange sounds and layers of vocal sounds to create something out of this world. This combination runs throughout the entire album and makes it downright strange.
If I have to compare the music to anything I've heard and seen in my life, I have to mention acts like O Yuki Conjugate, Kristus Kut, Dark Ensemble, Black To Comm and even Virgin Prunes, be it in their most experimental and bizarre era. 'E=MC² (Nagoya Version)' removes the duo further from the term 'music'. Here the sound collage creates a strange pattern of sounds, driving over a deep drone before the Virgin Prunes - like experimentation with vocals begins again. 'A Crack In The World Egg' repeats that approach, be it in a much darker way.
In all, this album is weird but very enjoyable if you're into ritual, psychedelic sound art. It takes you on a unimaginable journey through sounds and noises you never know existed. Yet, a warning might be in order because this music is far from easy digestible and it grabs all your attention while your brain is trying to figure out what the hell is happening. The unpredictable nature of the music on this album constantly moves the listener from emotion to emotion, from awe to fear and from wonder to disbelief. Great stuff...