K11: Another Temple to the Great Beast 666
Utech Records

To say that Italian sound artist Pietro Riparbelli challenges listeners with this recording under the K11 name—a project that, in Riparbelli's words, “lives within the world of radio signals, transcommunication, and other invisible phenomena”—would be a quite an understatement. Issued in an edition of 300 copies, Another Temple to the Great Beast 666 offers a listening experience at times akin to not merely beholding Rodin's The Gates of Hell but being thrown through them. Perhaps some project background is warranted: the album title refers to the Temple of Diana in Cefalù, Sicily, wherein infamous English occultist Aleister Crowley (aka The Great Beast 666) practiced daily rituals, yoga, and meditations. In fact, Crowley's connection to the temple was so strong, he wished to be buried there, but Mussolini's Fascist government expelled Crowley from the country in April 1923. Another Temple to the Great Beast 666 finds Riparbelli attempting to recapture Crowley's presence by using signals from shortwave radio receivers recorded during a so-called ‘Instrumental Transcommunication Action' realized within the temple as the main sound sources for the album's five parts.

The forty-seven-minute project begins peacefully enough with “Unio Mystica” and its relatively untroubled organ tones before casting the listener into a gaping maw teeming with crushing waves of feedback-styled noise and anguished voices. Some degree of calm is restored by the subsequent “Tiphereth” before “C'hocmah–17” ups the ante set by the opener with a series of horrifying wails; thankfully, the ten-minute piece also includes quieter passages that enable the listener to recover from the vocal episode. Such passages also allow for the material's ghostly qualities to become more conspicuous: “Geburah,” for example, generally hews to the restrained end of the spectrum, which enables one to appreciate more clearly the way Riparbelli blends organ tones with strings and textural elements. “The Great Mother,” on the other hand, wastes no time in asserting its extreme character when it opens with lacerating flurries of strangulated noises and screams; mercifully, Riparbelli once again dials down the intensity with wind-generated blur to end the album on a less harrowing note. All things considered, it's wholly fitting that the following appears at Utech Records' Bandcamp page for the release: “Not for the weakhearted.”

October 2013