In wrestling with how to put impressions of Israthoum’s new album into words, the phrase “dead reckoning” popped into my disoriented mind. As a navigational technique, it’s a method of estimating where you are based on where you began, taking into account variables such as speed and direction over the course of the journey. In some circumstances, it might be the best you can do in determining your present position, but it’s prone to the accumulation of errors, and may leave you not knowing accurately where you are, or how to find your way back.
It’s a very “loose” metaphor, and one that applies more to my efforts to introduce the album stream than to the album itself. Arrows From Below is most definitely a journey — and a harrowing one at that, a journey of hellish upheaval and frightening revelation, both ruinous and numinous — but of course you can easily find your way back to the beginning, and re-trace the journey. On the other hand, from the experience of a listener, that journey is likely to leave you in a very different place emotionally than where you began, and at least in my case, also with only error-prone methods of trying to describe that end-position and what happened over the course of the album to produce the change. Continue reading »