Over the last year, I have had the honour of reviewing several albums which are on the independent Lay Bare Recordings, and through my time I have noticed just what an impressive roster of bands the label works with. The likes of Modder and Onhou, both of whom I had the pleasure of reviewing, who are both hard hitters for the forward-thinking label, form part of the diverse collective, one which now includes today’s subject for review, kariti, who is about to release their second album, Dheghom.
Following on from 2020’s Covered Mirrors debut, Dheghom sees the artist evolving, building on the work of the first album and expanding it into far more lavish soundscapes along the way.
Over the eleven tracks, the dark ambient folk fully immerses you into an otherworldly state, full of soft dark passages, and eerie electronica moments filled with passion. Alongside kariti, who plays guitars, piano and synths, is Marco, one of the main elements of sludge outfit Grime, who contributes guitar and noise.
This internationally constructed work of wonder is complete with additional musical artistry courtesy of Dorthia Cottrell on track four, the haunting Vilomah, and Jon K contributing strings on Reckoning to help make the album a thing of beauty.
Opening with the brief spoken word track As Within, we quickly move on to the eerily electronic A Mare Called Night. It weirdly gives me vibes of 1970s sci-fi from the television and movies, such is the nature of the electronics. Before long the soft and otherworldly vocal rolls in to drape gently across the piece. There is some drum and ambient electronica which add to the atmosphere and complete this first introduction to those not already aware of kariti’s music.
Son has a softer, darker ambience to it. After a weightless moment to enjoy its introduction, as the vocal floats in, it is softer over the guitar element. As the track plays through, it picks up its intensity, before proceeding to its instrumental climax.
It’s at this point where my interest is undoubtedly sparked with track four Vilomah. This is where the beautiful duet with Dorthia Cottrell unfolds, and it’s here where things pick up for me. The hypnotic nature of this piece awakens something within me, and it hits hard emotionally. Instantly recognisable and sublimely created, this track is a standout moment.
it is undeniably intoxicating…
The following number, Reckoning, continues to keep me enthralled, and with its darker tone, it is undeniably intoxicating. The mix of dark piano, softer vocal, and complete with the added strings element, it does compact the overall mood of the piece into a dark beauty.
Metastasis pulls things back around as it slows the pace back down to an ambient contexture. This sets the mood ready for the following track, Sanctuary, which picks up again on the dark gothic piano and is the ideal backdrop to the ethereal vocal performance that floats above it.
As another highlight for me, River Of Red rolls in, this time there seems to be a more vibrant bass line waiting to emerge. With this track, we get to see another side to kariti as it reveals its full majesty. Whereas to this point it’s been mostly about holding back, with River Of Red it is very focused on pushing forward with the intensity. This has a real parallel with the rest of the album and is a welcome surprise to behold.
Emerald Death brings forth a wash of fuzzy guitar, and for me, it is possibly one of the only times over the course of the album where I can draw any comparison to any other artist. It nods towards Serpentent with both its vocal approach, and by being vibrantly minimal. It not only stands out, it’s epically dark while being dangerously cool.
After a brief interlude with Toll, which is exactly that, the sound of bells ringing, its swiftly on to the climax of the album, namely So Without. Again, there is a spooky electronica vibe going on here, which makes things quite eerie, but the warm vocal presence over the top distracts from the feeling somewhat. As endings go, this ties off the album nicely, albeit in a strangely unique way, but that’s the thing here, it isn’t even out of place.
Throughout the entire album there’s a feeling of familiarity, but at the same time, trying to find a comparison is somewhat difficult. Dheghom has been somewhat of a revelation for that very reason. Thinking you know what you will be getting, and being wrong, makes it all somewhat of a surprise to experience, and if you are willing to take that jump, I truly believe you will be happily rewarded.
Scribed by: Lee Beamish