Roadburn has a history of creating ‘once in a lifetime’ moments every year the festival comes around, and in 2018 we were exposed to the pairing of two of Finland’s most eclectic and psychedelic outfits performing a one-off commissioned piece of music never to be replicated. Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising created something truly magical on stage that day, fans and critics alike cried out for more, be it a live recording of the set or just one more show. Thankfully, our prayers were not only answered but exceeded, as the dynamic duo of weird and wonderful artists got together again to create Syntheosis (Svart); an entirely new piece of mind-bending brilliance.
On the face of it, the Waste Of Space Orchestra, both live and on record, may seem like nothing more than a glorified jam session, but both outfits that create this monster are nothing if not painstakingly precise in their delivery, and Syntheosis boasts a deep concept of three beings on a quest for knowledge; the Shaman, the Seeker, and the Possessor. Each one given life by Vesa Ajomo, Juho Vanhanen, and Marko Neuman respectively. With its hour plus run time, dense story, and aptly titled opener ‘Void Monolith’, Syntheosis might come across as an intimidating listen full of muso, chin-stroking but there’s plenty of accessibility, more so perhaps than any of the artist’s involved individual work.
The tribal-like drumming and the dark incantations of Vesa Ajomo being breathed out on ‘The Shamanic Vision’ give way to the psychedelic descent of lead single ‘Seeker’s Reflection’, where this concept takes the plunge into sludgy riffs and intoxicating effects. Ajomo said that here “After seeing through the Shaman’s eyes, the Seeker begins his journey from altered states of reality… once the Seeker is within the gravitational pull, there is no return.” This audio odyssey only gets more trippy when ‘Journey To The Centre Of Mass’ makes use of feedback to create this hypnotic trudge, adding to the sense of unknowing on the Seeker’s travels.
The beauty in a record like Syntheosis is you genuinely can’t predict what corner you will turn down next. ‘Wake Up The Possessor’ starts with these almost regal, jaunty keys and blends in sweet gospel-esque vocals drawing you in just as distorted guitars break through and Neuman’s sharp cries echo out. The minimalist and drone-heavy ‘Infinite Gate Opening’ serves as a quiet reprieve before the hypnotic, fuzzed-out maelstrom of ‘Vaccum Head’ erupts forth with this entrancing push-and-pull. Ebb and flow doesn’t quite do it justice, its theatrical pacing feels akin to King Crimson, and the prog-rock psychedelia woven throughout harsh, oppressive noise, none more intense than with the closing title track, arguably puts the Waste Of Space Orchestra above the sum of its parts in terms of its surreal but distinctive nature.
Whether this is a one-off recording or the start of a much longer symbiotic relationship between the two bands, Oranssi Pazuzu, and Dark Buddha Rising have tapped into something other-worldly and truly special with the Waste Of Space Orchestra, and Syntheosis will stand the test of time as a uniquely bizarre, but ultimately thrilling, experience.
9 / 10