Bong
Mana Yood Sushai

Newcastle’s prolific drone-doom team is back with another mesmerizing dose of psychedelic drone. Mana Yood Sushai marks something of a milestone for the band, since it is their first release recorded in a proper studio. Last years Beyond Ancient Space was a crushing piece of lo-fi droning doom, dense with foreboding atmosphere. Despite the music itself being similar, the studio has taken away much of the grime and the resulting clarity gives the music an entirely different atmosphere and mood. The foreboding doom and suffocating tone have given way to an airy psychedelia that calls to mind the heyday of bands like Paik and Subarachnoid Space as they’ve effectively moved their meditations from space to the mountaintop.

The backbone of the record is the drums and bass, which are now quite clear and big in the mix. With the density lifted the layers are more apparent and the feel a bit more composed. After a lengthy droning intro, “Dreams of Mana Yood Sushai” comes together in two primary movements: the first in rolling tumble and the second in a deliberate plod that leads to a short spacy coda. “Trees, Grass, and Stones” reads more like classic Bong, with slowly developing and shifting drums and bass as the other instruments and vocals fly in the air above. The airy atmosphere is nice change of pace and fits the new aesthetics prominent on the album (note conspicuous lack of an inverted cross in the redesigned logo).

Bong has produced another stellar album of their signature droning doom. The grime is gone, but the quality of the music is as good as it has ever been. If you miss the lo-fi charm of their earlier material, give them a few months. If previous years are any indication, it won’t be long before Bong is back.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chuck Kucher
June 26th, 2012

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