Ionophore is a name that’s likely flown under the radar of many Sentinel Daily readers, although one third of the project, the super talented Leila Abdul-Rauf, does have something of a metallic history with names like Cardinal Wyrm, Hammers of Misfortune and Vastum.
Here, Abdul-Rauf dials down on the gonzo and concentrates on producing, moody, atmospheric pieces of music that owe more to the world of film noir than they do to amped-up Sabbath worship. With partners in crime Janek Hendrich and Ryan Honaker, she’s really gone to town on this fourth Ionophore record, creating a backdrop of stygian otherworldliness over which your mind will broadcast it’s own images as prompted by the washes of sound emanating from the speakers.
It’s always hard to ‘review’ albums like this, as the visions conjured by the music are completely reliant on the imagination of the listener to provide flesh to the narrative provided by the sounds. The nocturnal nature of tracks like Bedim can’t help but have you peering suspiciously into the shadows – I strongly suggest that the best time to listen to this album is after dark, in the cosy umbre of your bedchamber with a few wines inside you – whilst the beautiful, brooding prog of Platelets (probably the most straightforward track here in terms of appeal) offers jazzy trumpet and an Iberian flourish to transport the listener to somewhere warm and almost certainly debauched. Which is a nice thing for someone locked down in cold, miserable London to be able to experience.
There are moments on Knells that will move you, there are moments that will perplex, there are even one or two moments that’ll have you wondering what you were doing listening to it in the first place, but you’ll never be less than fascinated by what’s going on – and you’ll find yourself listening to it over and over again as an accompaniment to your daily routine. It’s that kind of album – and it’s well worth some of your time, I’d say…
Knells releases on February 26th