After a handful of releases on cassette and CD-R, Luperci (aka Joseph Angelo of Albuquerque, New Mexico) delivers "The Holy Mountain," a two-sided drone monster of an LP. Working with the basic elements of sitar, bass, and voice, Luperci manages to create diverse sounds by amplifying and intensifying his instruments through a series of electronic effects. Generally, the album is a study of the balance between two musical aesthetics: synthesizer-style electronic drones and psychedelic sitar riffs. To his credit, Luperci does an amazing job mediating between the two and exploring the possibilities of their pairing.
"The Holy Mountain" consists of two sidelong pieces, helpfully titled "Part One" and "Part Two," and both explore various facets of Luperci's instrumental arrangement. The roughly ten-minute "Part One" opens with an ominous wall of heavy wall of drones, punctuated in the background by light touches of sitar. As the goes on, more high-pitched drone sounds are added and give a nice layer of contrast on the predominantly low-end sounds from earlier in the piece. "Part Two" treads similar territory, but is still quite distinct from its predecessor. It begins with echoed sitar plucks over scratchy, distant-sounding voice recordings. As the track progresses, the sitar riff seems to loop and echo into itself, forming interesting contrasts and tones. Heavy drones eventually creep their way into the song and seemingly wash over everything that preceded them, save for the sound of sitar gently creeping along in the background. Eventually, this fades out, leaving the sitar to take center stage again. At this point, what sounds like a chugging guitar riff (which I'm guessing came from the bass) enters the mix and serves as a background for the sitar. This is the only part where the album really falters, as this kind of riffage doesn't seem to fit along with the rest. Still, this doesn't last for long and the side ends quietly, but powerfully in ghostly echoes, as the voices from the opening of "Part Two" return.
Altogether, Luperci has created a thoughtful and absorbing album with "The Holy Mountain." Hearing what he is able to do with some less than standard elements is quite interesting and the resulting music is well worth checking out. There are only 100 copies of this album, all in handmade, silkscreened sleeves, so be sure to act quick if you'd like to hear the strange magic in the grooves of this vinyl. 8/10 -- Matt Blackall (15 July, 2009)