Five Gods Of The Head – “Kunzhi” Album Review (drone/ritual/ambient)


With the degree of mystery heightened, so peaks our interest here.  Combing through the seemingly endless string of emails, I locate this mysterious, obscure gem. 

I know very little of the label and even less of the artist in this case which makes this album all the more interesting.  Kunzhi is the release from Five Gods Of The Head from the label Secret Mother Tantra which is “a record label focused on diffusion and consciousness of the sound experience as a process of deep meditation.” (press release)

From Bandcamp: “Kunzhi, the first work of Five Gods of the Head are found in a vague line that matches sound and meditation experiences. Kunzhi, which in Bön’s knowledge is referred to an origin where everything’s sustained, being it at the same time a sort of original nothingness, leads us through a journey that moves us through the depths and gravity of its drones mixed with basic elements of the whole Bon ritual, to a listening space twinned with the original and esoteric mantra’s knowledge.”

The album contains two 14-minute tracks of ritual/drone/ambient craft-work.  Physical copies were limited unbelievably to 5 LPs which not surprisingly are sold out at this point.  However, the digital album still remains.  “Mun mtshams,” the second of two tracks is a slowly-moving mesmerizing track that begins simply as some repetitive male chanting against an organ sound.  The voice eventually moves deeper into the abyss as the slowly-swirling layered drones drown it out.  Nevertheless this is perhaps one of the best drone pieces I’ve heard when it comes to effective sound layering.  This gives both of the tracks more of an organic vs. spiritual vibe instead of simply digitally-produced drones. 

With “Spong-Iam” there seems to be even more of a focus on the meditative angle.  There is almost a sound similar to a swirling in a meditation bell with natural and spectral voices weaving in and out, perhaps in a merger of this world and the next.  Like the other track, “Spong-Iam” builds up but does so to the accompaniment of heavily-reverbed drones, bells and very minimal noise.  There is definitely more of a haunting vibe with this one.

Dark ambient/drone albums all have their place regardless of what tools with which they were created.  However, so does a release like Kunzhi where we feel like we as listeners are placed as witnesses to the ritual….between this world and the next, between organic and digital, between consciousness and semi-consciousness.

Definitely recommended for lovers of ambient/drone/ritual music and those simply intrigued by the musically mysterious.

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