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Black Sun Ensemble - Hymn Of The Master

  by Andrew Carver

published: 22 / 2 / 2002

Black Sun Ensemble - Hymn Of The Master
Label: Camera Obscura
Format: CD


New album from reconvened Arizona act Black Sun Ensemble proves to be a patchy affair with some unimpressive lyrics and singing, but extraordinary guiar playing

The Black Sun Ensemble has always enjoyed admirers on the psychedelic scene, and guitarist and mainstay Jesus Acedo has a reputation as one of the scene’s hottest players (possibly enhanced by a history of LSD abuse and schizophrenia, documented in the liner notes of previous Camera Obscura BSE release 'Sky Pilot'). But the uninitiated can be forgiven for asking what all the fuss is about , as BSE kick off their latest album. The chunky, simple riffs that start off the title track aren’t really psychedelic, even if they are quite distorted, and Acedo is not a good lyricist either. Pairing  “funky” with “monkey” wouldn’t even work as parody. The lyrics of other tracks, e.g. 'Bloody Mary’s' “smoking my pot/ smoking my dope/ cause for me there is no hope/ because for me there is no tomorrow/ there’s only sorrow” are not much better. Acedo’s not a particularly impressive singer either. His voice is fine, but his phrasing is terrible, and he comes down too hard on the last word of every rhyme. The album, however, really gets going when Acedo stops singing and lays into his guitar. Acedo has a searing, blistering sound with heavy distortion and feedback, which he supplements with extraordinarily rapid tremelo. The BSE produce some fairly diverse music. Acedo, along with bassist Eric Johnson, saxophonist Brian Maloney and unfortunately named drummer Otto Terrorist mix some funky influences on '669' (and its sister track, '999') which has Acedo chanting “James Brown .. James Brown ... James Brown.” The Moog on the same track would be right at home on an Anubian Lights record. Another interesting diversion can found on 'Whirlpool Ocean', with its Middle Eastern riff. ''Love In the Heart of the Joyful' is very Ghost-like with its sitar, hand percussion and wailing guitar, while 'Lamp Lady Vison' has freakout guitar distortion paired with some laid back saxophone and cymbals. 'Hymn of the Master' isn’t the first psychedelic album anyone should run out and buy. It isn’t even the first BSE album to put on a shopping list (Camera Obscura’s reconfigured rerelease of the first album is the best bet) . Indeed, Acedo and company are in grave danger of being turned into background noise by newer psychedelic titans like Acid Mothers Temple. Nonetheless, it’s a welcome addition to the the band's body of work.

Track Listing:-
1 Hymn Of The Master
2 Bloody Mary
3 669
4 Captain Wormwood
5 Celestial Cornerstone
6 Whirlpool Ocean
7 999
8 Love In The Heart Of The Joyful
9 Lamp Lady Vision
10 Song For Precious

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