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Sheer Zed - Thai Occult Road Trip

Thai Occult Road Trip was inspired and informed by Sheer Zed's second trip to Thailand as part of his continuing transformation. Aside from receiving the new Sak Yant tattoos that now adorn his body, Sheer Zed met and spent time with Ajarns (professors, teachers, lay preachers, former monks, magickians) of the Thai Lanna Buddhist system receiving blessings, guidance, witnessing rituals and visiting and exploring temples and sacred spaces. Sheer Zed's journeys to Thailand have been inspired by Peter Jenx's series of books on The Thai Occult which were published by Timeless. The release of Thai Occult Road Trip was prefaced by an experimental track, 'The Thai Occult', containing audio fragments of an interview with Peter Jenx by Charlotte Rodgers. It too is well worth a listen.

As Sheer Zed wrote on his blog, which I urge interested readers to visit, "Thai Occult Road Trip is a panoramic audio celebration of my fascination and admiration of the magickal occult system of Thai Lanna Buddhism. This travelogue of electronic and organic sounds expresses and crystallizes incidents and remembrances leading up to and surrounding my 2018 trip to Northern Thailand." Not since Peter Christopherson released Form Goes Rampant under the name The Threshold HouseBoys Choir has any electronic musician captured the sacred nature of Thai culture so beautifully.

Sheer Zed received Sak Yant tattoos from Ajarns, "manifestations of magickal entities and are powerful, life-changing gateways to new realms of being" tattoos that act as gateways. Some of those adornments were of jing joks (lizards) who according to folklore of the region are a "symbol of good luck and fertility". There are nine Jing Joks and Sheer Zed received three of these magickal tattoos as referred to in the title. From creaks and rattles of pitter-patter 'Triple Jing Jok Sak Yant' settles into waves of pulsing electronics and wafts of airy synths. Slowly unfurling metallic jangles emerge ricocheting between channels, absorbing the flutter of Thai flutes amidst the ringing insect like chatter, airy synths, sound shifts and electronic pulses. The combination of sounds is mesmerising and alluring.

If 'Triple Jing Jok Sak Yant' could be considered meditative, 'Kom Hit Target' is unsettling unleashing waves of stuttered distortion. The atmosphere thick and portending. A rhythm pummels. A brief atmospheric interlude interrupts before the distortion creeps in again. The effect is unnerving and malevolent. It almost feels the sound is stalking you. The berating ceaseless pummel becomes a death pummel battering you, beating you down. The effect and sound is close to some of the stark and clinical tracks on JFK's Weapon Design but while that album concerned itself with battles in the form of information, media and the military 'Kom Hit Target' is more personal. It is a psychic attack and just as direct.

'Chanting Katas for Two Dead Birds' is something else again, a tender and moving electronic piece. Flitting hollow textural scrapes surrounded by chittering, chirping electronics, are soon embraced by the warmth of soothing gentle piano chords. Those chords continually chime and are enveloped by atmospheric synths. It is as if the souls of those dead birds killed by a local cat are on a journey taken onwards by the emerging spliced downbeat rhythm. It, like much of Sheer Zed's output, changes shape with the rhythm becoming more vibrant settling into an evocative electronic score augmented by those tender chords allowing us space to remember and celebrate the dead and consider the impermanence of life. Sheer Zed's sounds can be complex and busy at times but this is a wonderful manifestation of a soothing evocative spiritual journey.

'Thai Occult Road Trip' ranges from water to fire and is an intriguing and life-affirming journey. From the wash of drenched rainfall slow arching synths continually emerge and disappear, eventually slipping into deep swirling shifts and shudders, mixed with a miasma of turbulent processed electronic effects. A driving hi-hat based rhythm leads a merry dance of invigorating electronic beats. Sound treatments manipulate Thai voices, the whole thing jabbering and hammering in the form of ecstatic ritualisations. The flurry of rhythms surge onwards bending and folding in on itself returning refreshed and revitalised layering yet more beats amidst excited cries and wails. The powerful rhythms, at this point, almost echoing the shamanistic work of Mother Destruction. There's little if any emphasis on sexual transformation with Sheer Zed though, for him transformation is all encompassing. Towards the end of this fifteen minute track, described by Sheer Zed as encapsulating a "road movie feeling", the driving rhythm chimes like metallic ritual instruments as electronics blend, blur and flutter before it hurtles to the end in a fiery fusion of beating electronics and sound treatments. 'Thai Occult Road Trip' is a sonic postcard from the edge tracing the pathway of the latest instalment of Sheer Zed's on-going transformation.

Thai Occult Road Trip acts as a wonderful entry point and soundtrack to Peter Jenx's The Thai Occult books. Taken on its own it is another wonderfully impressive release from this shaman and electronic musician. Sheer Zed has a number of albums and tracks available digitally which really deserve wider exposure. Intelligent, intriguing and well worth hearing. Great stuff. Thai Occult Road Trip is released digitally available as a download on numerous platforms. For more information go to Sheer Zed