Review: Oikos – Vigilia

OikosVigilia’s title track leaves all brushstrokes visible. It is not an immaculate atmosphere that exists before I arrive, hiding its history somewhere within the stirrings of the present tense – I bear witness to its very construction, observing as each layer of guitar descends and compacts onto the existing mass like accumulating sediment, with the imprints of human action (thumbs slipping on acoustic guitar strings, E-bows pressing their lips against quivering strings, distorted amplifier output suddenly swallowed by mid-frequency feedback) detectable all the way through. Yet while the means of its capture are fully exposed, illuminated by ritual candlelight, the intentions feel more mysterious; there is an energy rising within the thickening guitar noise, like a darkness shining in between the pillars of resonant fifth chord – a conjured unseen, a resurrection through sound.

Perhaps that’s what I’m hearing in the closing moments of “Perdition (Austral Road)”? As the central melody fades to black there’s a low rumbling skulking in the distance, like a shadow flashing briefly across a cave wall. It’s seemingly without origin, like the residual echo of a beast’s stomping footsteps (even though the creature itself is nowhere to be seen). My questions yawn open as “Trail’s End” fades up, and rather than culminating in a dense, revelatory resolve, it floats away into empty space; the same quivering fragment of time loops round over and over again; twitching and dimming within the night that comes to claim it, swallowed up in a haze of overlapping thought and reverberant ambiguity.