Second Sufis - Infectious Substance

Year of Release: 2002
Label: B9 Productions
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 73:31:00

As one grows up and is taught about the various vicissitudes and ironies that modern life has brought to all spheres of human existence, a certain dichotomy springs up and seems to adamantly hold its ground in whatever new learning comes: technology and nature. Call it inorganic and organic if you will. Call it reason and passion. In fact, feel free to give it whichever description you are most comfortable with, as long as you roll along with the perception that these two are often set against each other as irreconcilable foes. Fortunately enough, things seem to be somewhat different regarding art. At least in the world of Second Sufis, where the battle reached a perfect balance on the band's previous album, Pearl. And now that balance has been attained, the entity led by multi-instrumentalists James Mott and Mike Gorman seems to be on its quest for true enlightenment. In other words, Infectious Substance brings Second Sufis' music up another notch. So much for holding my verdict until the last second...

For those yet not in the know, Second Sufis is a unit with a rather particular vision of creating music in the ambiguous realm of progressive rock: the band's instrumentals are fully improvised on the spot, and consist of its two members playing a variety of instruments (most being "exotic" percussive instruments) and using both sampling and looping in order to create entire pieces out of their improvisatory whims. The result thereof has improved dramatically over the last few years, and the band can now claim to have absolute command of the tools at its disposal. Infectious Substance is certainly no exception, providing serene and meditative exploration on "Krakatoa," smothering atmospheres on "Abrasion" and the nerve-wracking "Reign of Nails," and a gorgeous moment of ethereal beauty in the album's best track: "Eternal Golden Braid." The members of Second Sufis might think that their latest is hardcore and should be used only at one's own risk, and in a way they are right, but this is also their most enjoyable album to date.

In all fairness to my loyal two readers out there (I'm sure the third has given up and deserted by now), however, it must be said that the album does have a slight setback that keeps it from reaching higher plateaus; mainly its length. In a world where ample meditation and patient development are key elements, establishing the appropriate duration of instrumentals is a maddening task, and one that Infectious Substance is only partially successful at. While no track on the record could be labeled as superfluous, and the inclusion of "Reign of Nails" at the very end was a brilliant choice in balancing out the overall effect of well over an hour of music, the listener's attention is inevitably diverted at various points due to a feeling of over-expansion. Ironically enough, as the rather lengthy "Krakatoa" is one of the finest tracks on this offering, but one still retains the impression that Second Sufis' latest could have benefited from changes in its duration.

Regardless of such a shortcoming, however, one cannot help but commend the members of Second Sufis and their progress, which has seen the band stay true to its colors and unconventional approaches while making better music with each new release. True, Infectious Substance might not be for every progressive rock enthusiast out there, but given the appropriate taste and mood it can be quite an enjoyable album, and one that features a completely unique and distinctive style. Handle with care? Sure. If this is your kind of thing you might just become infected.

Krakatoa (20:50) / Eternal Golden Braid (3:14) / Backwash (2:50) / Peak Overpressure (4:40) / Abrasion (5:22) / Annihilation II (7:00) / Aeolus 14 Umbra (7:36) / The Society Of Egyptian Undertakers (4:33) / Reign of Nails (15:26)

James Mott - Chapman Stick, udu, rag dung, acoustic guitar, Chinese bowl gong, Bronze Age Irish horn, Tibetan singing bowl, Kurzweil synthesizer, didgeridoo
Mike Gorman - acoustic guitar, electronic drums, tabla, Chinese bowl gong, Tibetan singing bowl, slit drum, electric guitar, rain stick

Guest musicians:

Jerome Pier - Kurzweil synthesizer
Mark Greeno - electric guitar

Slave Labor On Mars (1993)
Soft Clock (1995)
Air Guitar (1995)
Metroplex (1996)
Seven Rays (1997)
Pearl (2002)
Infectious Substance (2002)
Sea Of Sky (2006)

Genre: Other

Origin US

Added: January 26th 2004
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Hits: 795
Language: english


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