Merkaba Records specialise in music that crosses over two specific genres – electronica and new age or ancient music. Most of their artists can be found taking traditional world music or trippy new age music onto the dance floor but Ancestral Elephants are one of the groups that gravitate more towards the traditional end of the spectrum.
Ancestral Elephants’ new EP ‘Enchanted Visions’ has five beautiful tracks that use a variety of melodic instruments to create dreamy ethereal pieces. Each one feels like its own individual journey. ‘Egyptian Dreams’ places simple vocalisations, hand percussion and a sitar-esque circular raj as its baseline. Over the top mbiras and woodwind gently plink and purr. Its methodical plod feels grande but purposeful before ‘Snow flow’ transitions to zithers and tuned percussion rolling over echoing synth strings and the hint of percussion. Behind it all, you can hear field recordings of icy caverns dripping water.
‘Deeply Moving’ then bleeds all the melody away to have echoes of instruments instead. Distant chants seep in and out over rainsticks, woodwind synths and birdsong. The drones switch to something more akin to Cistern Monks for ‘Cosmic Compassion’. Chinese zithers gently unfurl around deep vocal loops and warming bass lines. Rainfall persists in the background which slowly transitions back to lake and forest sounds for ‘Celestial Lullaby’. Here a simple but infectious muted bell loop leads the way over calming synths to close out the EP peacefully.
In many ways, I love the EP for way Ancestral Elephants awaken all different senses by mixing in subtle electronica, vocal samples, real tuned percussion and field recordings. It is as if I have physically moved on my journey around the music. It also easily dodges the cheesy new age vibe too by feeling unique, avoiding that type of new-age percussion and keeping a tight song structure. I am excited to dive into their back catalogue and would recommend anyone looking for world ambient and tuned percussion music to check the EP out.
Recommended track: Egyptian Dreams
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