The Odyssey Cult
Volumes 1 and 2
Ben Allen, music editor
Devotion to a cult based on sprawling, ambient, feedback-laden guitar improvisation is no easy task.
For the uninitiated, The Odyssey Cult is the brainchild of Ethan Miller, a musician known for embracing classic rock sensibilities and down and dirty garage music. On this release, we find Miller with only his guitar, effects pedals, ear screeching volume and wild imagination as his guide.
You may feel as though you’re hearing a soundtrack to some type of stellar sci-fi flick, not unlike the Flaming Lips’ “Christmas on Mars.” Standout “Nausicaa | Sandymount” burns slow, with haunting ethereal vocals laced with floating, understated guitar drone. First volume closer “In Black Poplar Grove, Calypso at Her Loom” features technical, Hendrix-guitar-god-like heroics before climaxing on a single, orgasmic note.
That’s not to say this recording will immediately spark the interest of the casual listener. Screechy guitars and noise freak-outs are not for everyone, and can become somewhat tedious and indulgent. While the percussion on the sludgy “Ulysses” is a welcome addition, the song would have had equal impact at a quarter of its twenty-five minute running length.
Active participation with art is rare in our modern age, and The Odyssey Cult requires patients and attention over its hour and a half running time. As a bold statement and challenging form of raw, expressionistic ambiance, Miller has succeeded triumphantly. I offer a challenge to those willing to join this cult; use this record not as entertainment, but as an immersive, ritualistic experience. Light a joint, meditate and see where this wild tale of passionate indulgence takes you.
Rating: 9 out of 12 cans of PBR!