Secret Pyramid: Movements of Night
Students of Decay

Two words in particular come to mind as I listen to Movements of Night by Secret Pyramid aka Vancouver-based musician Amir Abbey: confidence and poise. On his first vinyl release of Secret Pyramid material (his previous output includes the cassette release The Silent March, scheduled to be reissued on vinyl by Students of Decay in early 2014), Abbey demonstrates a conspicuous degree of patience and control in the way he lets the album's material unfold, and, eschewing histrionic effects, he also knows that a graceful presentation alone is capable of captivating.

A case in point is the ethereal opener “A Descent,” whose haze rolls in ever so softly as it gently guides the listen into the album's immersive soundworld. Through the mist, the faint trace of a choir's soft intonation seems to appear, though it's hard to be certain when the fog is so thick. The hazy ambient swirl of “Closer” bleeds into “To Forget,” where an insistent bass line forms a pulsing counterpoint to the cloud formations billowing overhead. The album takes a heavier and darker turn in “Wish” when a slow convulsion of molten guitar-generated slabs floods the aural space, while the presence of reverberant electric piano chords in the brooding “Escape (Fade Out)” can't help but call to mind Angelo Badalamenti's soundtrack work for David Lynch, Twin Peaks especially.

Though no instrumentation details are provided, one clearly hears electric guitars, blurred by effects, shudder softly throughout “Quiet Sky,” and a blurry piano, shadowed by guitar textures, seems to creep through “Move Through Night.” The album title also proves to be well-chosen in the way Abbey's stately music mirrors the internal rhythms of sleep and the gradual surrender to unconsciousness. Yes, Secret Pyramid may very well remind one at times of Popol Vuh and Stars of the Lid, but that's hardly damning criticism: Movements of Night ultimately holds up perfectly well on its own terms, thank you very much.

November 2013