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Dzyan: Iludhra
2001, Terakuma Productions, 050199-2

Iludhra from Dzyan is a boundary-stretching, instrumental venture into the abstract realm of complex harmonization and tonal texturing. Dzyan explores many unusual sources of tonality outside of the European frame, such as Indian, Middle-Eastern, African, and Egyptian, among others. He conducts this tonal exploration with clean-toned acoustic and electric guitars that are layered to create richly textured harmonies centered primarily around non-diatonic harmonies and uncommonly utilized modes. In addition to the unusual harmonization that is explored, Dzyan also incorporates some unusual rhythms and meters into the unusual compositions that conjure images of ancient mysticism, occult, pagan ceremonies, Eastern spiritualism, and drug-induced, hypnotic, psychedelic journeys.

One of the most striking aspects of the music on Iludhra is that Dzyan not only explores outside harmonies, but he does it with a musical vision that captures a distinctive feeling and musical vision that gives meaning to the tonality that he has come to terms with. Though the lack of familiarity of the Western audience with the unusual tonality that Dzyan deploys will undoubtedly present an obstacle in their ability to grasp it fully upon first listening, Dzyan makes great strides in tearing down the cultural walls that separate Western listeners from the Eastern harmonization that he builds upon. And though not based upon any speedy or fusionish advanced guitar technique, the style of guitar that Dzyan utilizes is intricate and impressive in its own right because of the difficult tonality that it articulates.

Perhaps it is necessary to understand the origin of "Dzyan" to grasp the musical vision of Iludhra. The following is an excerpt from a description of the origins of "Dzyan" that captures the distinctive feeling that the album projects:

The Book of Dzyan, Being a Manuscript Curiously Received by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky with Diverse & Rare Texts of Related Interest

Edited and Introduced by Tim Maroney -

Blavatsky’s influence spread beyond the occult world, contributing to the 19th century’s “strange tale” and to 20th century horror. Her views on cyclic evolution through space and time, expressed in the poetic and evocative Stanzas of Dzyan, bridge the divide between visionary spirituality and supernatural storytelling, between magic and fiction.

To the author of the Stanzas of Dzyan, the cycle of the cosmos serves a greater spiritual purpose even while it ensnares an eternal procession of fantastic beings in illusion. The seminal horror writer H. P. Lovecraft contrasted his nihilistic work with Blavatsky’s Theosophy, and filled his cosmos instead with vast, uncaring, and incomprehensible forces. The dynamic between the two writers demonstrates skepticism and speculation not as conflicts but as kindred mythological responses to science.

Iludha is an interesting album that should attract the interest of musicians because of its exploration of non-standard modes, tonality, and meters. I could see this album easily attracting examination in an academic environment. But, beyond this academic value, one of the major accomplishments that Dzyan has achieved on this album is that he has managed to cross the cultural boundaries between the foriegn musical concepts that he explores and the Western listening audience that the music is presented.

Acoustic &Electric Guitars, Percussion Dzyan
1) Indigo Flame
2) Serpent's Mount
3) Larthegia
4) Amon Re
5) Brothers Keep Time
6) Naga Raga
7) Iludhra
8) Korsan

~ Christopher Ruel ~ ~ ~ Chris Ruel's Monthly Spotlight





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