Caligo Mater
Detriti Records

In sitting down with the latest release from Detriti, you might be struck as I was by how far afield Gorgyra’s contemplative and minimal combination of string and woodwind instrumentation lies from the sounds we’ve come to expect from the tastemaking label. Even from the perspective of modern uses of terms like neo-folk and neo-classical, Caligo Mater‘s sober, minimalist arrangements and haunting execution seem otherworldly.

Gorgyra comes by its unique sound honestly – the project of classically trained flautist Azin Zahedi, it aims at “Eastern and Western sonic reminiscences, through the conceptual prism of the Greek classic mythology universe”. Whatever the provenance of the mournful, minimal progressions of strings (hammered, if I don’t miss my guess), they certainly feel out of step with the aesthetics not just of this millennium, but also the previous one. The dusty ambient hum (Of tape, drones, ghosts? It’s unclear.) within which each piece is ensconced only adds to that estrangement of time. The plainly struck pacing of the title track isn’t so far removed from the few attempts I’ve heard at recreating classical Greek string repertoire (maybe with a dash of the Moonlight Sonata), though I’m far from an expert.

The tentative, reedy winds of “Oizys” start in an eerie, funereal mood but grow more open and contemplative as the piece expands, drifting into perfumed reverie. Here, as on the rest of the EP, Zahedi wrests a surfeit of imagery, emotion and atmosphere from the slightest of intonations, conjuring the ancient or tapping into the present.