Few artists combine spiritual elements with that of nature like the UK-based Xenis Emputae Travelling Band. XETB is one Phil Legard, and his recent explorations into the aural spheres of the English countryside have been nothing short of spellbinding. Something archaic permeates from all his recordings, like they are from another century entirely. "The Pyrognomic Glass" is no exception. It is all these things and more and offers further insight into the mind and spirit of Phil Legard.
"The Pyrognomic Glass" differs slightly from previous XETB releases in that it only has two tracks, both longform pieces. This new album is like an extended version of the 3" Legard released on his own Larkfall imprint, "A Selenographic Lens" (and in fact, I believe he has said this the follow-up to that EP). Legard thrives in the expanses of these lengthy pieces. The freedom that he finds within these expansive walls adds great depth to the proceedings. It is as if this music exists in the ether of the earth and Legard simply searches it out and plays it for the masses.
"Abital" opens the set at just a shade over 14 minutes. Starting off with a wash of ethereal drones, this track moves through many different moods. These opening notes are the beginning of a new dawn. It's simplistic approach is the perfect way to begin. The real highlight of this piece, however, is when Legard breaks into song near the end. Again, we go with the simplicity theme - stripped down to the core. With gentle banjo plucks to guide him, Legard offers up ancient incantations, like a shaman summoning spirits. This is excellent. The way that this track seamlessly flows from one different moment to the next is quite impressive. "Abital" is one of XETB's finest moments ever.
The album continues its fine form with the 20 minute epic, "Rorasa." This is another haunting piece that drones its way through the evening hours right up to dusk. It continues the theme of enchantment, taking the listener through the primeval wood into the center of time. Such a journey transcends any and all aural boundaries and XETB takes us to a far off place that most couldn't even dream up. This is true sonic wizardry. 8/10 -- Brad Rose (3 October, 2005)