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X-Bax: Aokigahara (2015)

US project X-BAX is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Phil Dole, and has been an ongoing venture since 2004. The EP “Aokigahara” dates back to 2015, and was released through US label Silber Records as part of their ongoing series of experimental EPs featuring 5 tracks performed in a 5 minute total playtime.

The handful of minutes X-Bax have crafted takes us through a fairly diverse landscape as far as these productions goes. We’re presented with a fluctuating drone combined with a wandering gentle guitar and occasional plucked guitar notes, an effective contrast of sounds that easily maintains tension. Then a more ghostly constellation of bird sounds and distanced acoustic guitars, followed by a more delicate cut that features ghostly distanced sounds throughout, giving associations to the ghostly echoes of a bagpipe. A cut revolving around solid dark guitar riffs and booming bass follows, while the conclusion takes us back to a dark majestic drone accompanied by a light toned overlay that again comes with some sort of a bagpipe association.

An interesting 5 minute run, but ultimately a production that first and foremost will appeal to those with a keen interest in drones, sounds and effects. With special marks for those intrigued by atmospheres invoking the thoughts of ghosts and supernatural events.

My rating: 7/10

Track list:    
Visitor Izo; Katakuri; Shinjuku; Yakuza; Gozu the Killer

Line-up:
Phil Dole – all instruments

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