14 May

The reality is simply this: The new album from Swahili, Portland’s premier colonists of cosmic circuitry, is called “AMOVREVX.” It opens with an eleven and-one-half minute piece of perfection entitled “Bardo.” It also comes with two custom tarot cards. Given this, there’s really no way that can recommend this album more highly.

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Of course, there’s much more that we could say about the sounds of “AMOVREVX,” and much, much, much more that Swahili says with said sounds. We could note the space between “AMOVREVX” and Swahili’s previous full-length, their self-titled debut (an album that led directly to our initial cross-examination of all things Swahili, nearly four years ago). We could note that Swahili seems not to have abandoned the wild abandon with which they once approached their music, but rather seem to have graduated to an exponentially more panoramic perspective, manifested fully on “AMOVREVX.” We could note that, in this way, Swahili are exploring ground that could be seen as tangentially related to the kind territory Jane Weaver covers on another one of our favorite albums of recent history, “The Silver Chord” – inspiring, illuminating and poetic, strange and beautiful. We could note that – without question – never before have we felt compelled to dance and sing along to the words, “It’s giving life to darkness / It’s Aristophanes.”

But sing and dance we did.

We could note all of this and more. And in a sense, we have. But none of this even gets close to capturing the inquiring, imaginative nature of Swahili’s “AMOVREVX,” an album that quite literally pulses with a macro-and-microscopic sonic circulatory system all its own. “AMOVREVX” is an album of uncanny skill and depth, connected to everything, all sounds, yet subjugated to none of them. It rejects convenience, it rejects laziness, it exalts in change.

In the greatest of all possible ways, the music of Swahili gives us pause – a pause to experience something in a new way, through a new expression, unbound by expectation, a musical medicine to free us of our stale, fixed ideas and open us up to profound truths with infinite implications. Infinite implications that you can dance to.

“AMOVREVX” by Swahili is available now from Translinguistic Other Records.

“Perhaps this is the great imperative of our present time. Through practice we can discover how to allow the mind to find its natural equality. When mind ceases to create divisions and boundaries, then the world is without divisions and boundaries. Going further, we see that practice has not changed the nature of this world one inch. It doesn’t help make highs and lows equal; it shows us their basic equality, which has been present all along. Realizing this, we can appreciate and enjoy the tall mountain as tall, and the low mountain as low.” – Geoffrey Shugen Arnold Sensei

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  1. BAND OF THE WEEK: XUA | Revolt of the Apes - September 16, 2015

    […] also a member of the Portland, Oregon’s “Bardo”-blasting Swahili (a band that itself was a recent victim of “Band of the Week” honors). Vineyard asks […]

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