Terracid AKA Michael Donnelly returns with yet another solo album of his outback-fried psychedelic jamborees. Donnelly is extremely prolific, but that's a good thing for all of us. While he must be sacrificing something on the holy altar of the folk gods, he's surely not sacrificing quality for quantity. "Alltounia" is his first record from the always great 267 Lattajjaa imprint and is one of his finest offerings yet. This is music that will lull you into a trance.
"Alltounia" begins with the stunning "Asleep in the Frozen Woods." Bowed guitars and gently plucked acoustics create a dense moss-covered forest floor. Donnelly's vocals hang in the air, just barely, before falling to the ground and dying in the dirt. This folk composition struggles with itself, trying to wriggle free from the roots and weeds below. It's organic bliss, all wrapped in a vividly-colored blanket. As always, this is great.
There are many soft and quiet moments on "Alltounia," giving this album a more reflective tone. Tracks like "More" and the title track are steeped in meditative glory. The latter track especially. Bowed acoustic guitars and minimal percussion are reminiscent of Keijo, while the underlying sonic drone brings to mind My Cat is an Alien. It's a powerful combination and Donnelly puts his own, distinct spin on the whole affair. "More" is laced in trembling percussion and methodically picked guitars. It's like the silent build-up of tension before a massive thunderstorm. As you watch the black clouds on the horizon approach, you aren't quite sure how bad it's going to be. There's a defiant sense here, like you are forcing your nerves into submission, but in the end you lose out to the forces of nature. Donnelly's delicate balancing act pays off in spades.
One thing I've been noticing about Donnelly's work, not only as Terracid but in Brothers of the Occult Sisterhood, Ffehro, and Soarwhole as well, is that you can really hear that he is inspired by his surroundings in rural Australia. "Khepera" is like a journey over the Great Dividing Range and into the sun-soaked outback. A jews harp marks your steps while fleeting recorder notes hint at the birds flying overhead. It's a beautiful moment on "Alltounia," and with the underlying percussive thuds, it's truly magical. The other element of this homeland-inspiration is the proceeding track, "Talking Shadow Asking for Light." Not only does this piece have an awesome title, but Donnelly's frantic vocal incantations feel tribal in origin. He's channelling some serious ancient spirits here. Totally fucking mystical.
The more I listen to "Alltounia," the more I've grown to love it. It's an album that takes alot of attention. But once you've found the key and unlocked this psychedelic world, you're in for one hell of a ride. Terracid strikes again. 9/10 -- Brad Rose (17 October, 2005)