Rajna – Yahili

Rajna – Yahili – 4/5

An album that I’ve been putting off for too long, this is an ambient album that took some tracking down to obtain, and now that I finally have it doesn’t disappoint. Playing that perhaps too rare oriental influenced folk style, they portray a subtle and dark atmosphere that will entrance you for its entire length.

The instrumentation is relatively minimalist, and this works to their advantage. It succeeds in sounding rich without there being any specific focal points; after all, the point of ambient music is to provide an atmosphere and tone, rather than a catchy tune. The distinctly eastern sounding guitars providing a ‘twang’ on most tracks that despite this, are performed in such a way as to provide a soundscape like little else, perhaps the main contributor to the ‘oriental’ feel. Whilst a number of other oriental sounding elements are utilised, such as a steady tribal drum, none of them make as common appearance, though are utilised just as effectively.

The vocals come in two forms, both without lyrics for the most part, the voice being used in a purely instrumental manner. With the less commonly utilised deep and masculine ‘tibetan chant’ lending an almost bass guitar effect to the proceedings, and the most dominant aspect to their sound, the wailing female vocals. With a breathiness she is capable of sounding distant, fading in and out as the track demands it , whilst still capable of cutting through the instrumentation behind her.

Throughout all of this, a distinctly dark tone emerges. Not in the same manner as any raw aggressive black metal, or even a more ‘evil’ gothic tone, but through a third, unique way. Far more subtle, a lighter and more solemn, perhaps even ‘doom-esque’ at times (e.g. Ham Shallam), it creates a sense of disparity, disquiet and dread that would be hard to recreate. Unfortunately, this album presents one large drawback from being rated higher; I found it nearly impossible to distinguish between many of the tracks. Whilst perhaps less important for an ambient album, is still nonetheless an issue. Despite this, those who were fans of Karl Sanders work, or are simply interested in ambient music could do a lot worse.

Highlights: Shalai, Shandailo, Gansha Gaurab, Ham Shallam