Anthony Donovan & JOHN 3:16 – Of The Hex And Its Likeness

(Flood Records, 2015)

This project created by the two talented multi-instrumentalists and conjurers of sound namely Anthony Donovan (an England-based artist and musician with experience in working with the likes of John Zorn and Damo Suzuki) and Philippe Gerber (of JOHN 3:16 among other things, a French musician living in the States with similarly vast amount of experience from working with sound especially in live circumstances) is a match made in Psychedelic Ambient heaven.

From the beginning of the first song, I have stepped into an immensely Psychedelic world of various shamanic trance-like sounds (not trance-producing but like being on a trip already). I feel like sitting by an electric fire in a dark jungle surrounded with Ayahuasca-like visions, but with the traditional Amazonian shamanic musical soundscapes replaced by for example the sounds of the saxophone and an eerie Lynchian guitar in my close-eyed consciousness, I feel like observing scenes of Jazz-clubs and ominous motels. From the first minutes of this album I know these guys know splendidly well how to produce inner cinematic scenes of truly trippy qualities.

The other five songs continue along the same lines (while adding more traditional Psychedelic Rock elements to the mix), being made of several unique parts and scenes of sounds. The amount of different sounds (and even perhaps instruments) on this record is really admirably vast, yet all the low and high, damp and clear, low-fi and upscale, swirling and steadily gliding noises, hisses and choirs of buzzes, chimes, clanks, clicks, thuds, bleeps, and especially the distorted and more acoustic guitars and basses and various synth-sounds, as well as different percussion-sounds plus other effects, fit the overall feeling of the album perfectly, producing extremely dreamlike and vivid visions.

The programmed drums and percussions often sound like being performed by a third member (a percussionist) while Phillippe and Anthony work their magic with their trademark heavily filtered guitars, basses, keyboards and the like. There is also a strong live-atmosphere to the songs (reminding of the vast experience both men have from performing around the world), which gets interrupted only by the sudden changes of the scenes contained on this album divided into six parts. The singing, speaking, whispering, preaching and screaming voices performed by Anthony fit the soundscapes really well, sometimes acting as the voice of the shaman guiding you on this trip, but usually transforming into some entity encountered on the many deep journeys these songs consists of.

I’m not even trying to categorize this music due to its vast array of styles and feelings, but if you are into styles such as Ambient, Noise, Experimental, Psychedelic Rock (especially of the Kraut-nature) and in the same time a fan of extremely cinematic and soundtrack-like Jazzy and Lynchian feelings, rest assured you will not be disappointed by this album.

Flood Records

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