Yele Solma – Bokor

A few years ago I had ordered an album by Basque folk black metal band Ilbeltz off the French Antiiq Records label. Included was a pamphlet that featured more of their releases. Among them was an act called Yele Solma, which purported to play a form of voodoo-inspired African dark ambient. That description alone warranted a listen from me; however, unfortunately I forgot to follow up on the project until remembering them recently and discovering that their only album, Bokor, was now on Bandcamp. It became immediately apparent that it was a mistake on my part to not have sought this release out sooner.

Bokor is a sub-thirty-minute immersion in an otherworldly spiritual realm, made even more incredible being that it is the work of one Frenchmen who goes by the name of Lazareth. Although short, Bokor is quite an experience that may be too unsettling for some. The calls of birds in a tropical jungle, ambience, flutes, and muffled tribal drums open up A’mawu Bandé, before chants of feverish dissonance, as if possessed by an evil spirit, inculcate the listener into a purgatorial, almost nightmarish state. Slower offbeat tribal drums and eerie wails ease the outset of Liké Sin Ka To, before more chants in the Mossi language, one of the regional languages of Burkina Faso in western Africa, continues the ritual that is Bokor. This entire album feels as though it is one elaborate shamanic exorcism, as exemplified in Tiimé A’tchika Rogo Saoga, with its fast-paced tribal drums, blistering and pulsating chants ebbing from the guttural to seemingly spiritual invocations. Bokor is a dark ambient album that provides a hauntingly African take on the genre and one that warrants its attention across the variety of genres it transverses. Yele Solma has crafted an album that is uncomfortable and eerie, yet spiritual at the same time. Hopefully, there are more works in the future.

Genre: Dark Ambient, Experimental, World
Country: France
Label: Antiiq Records
Release: April 11, 2011

1. A’Mawu Bandé
2. Liké Sin Ka To
3. Yi Go Tom´dé
4. Tiimé A´Tchika Rogo Saoga
5. Pootogo Poñgo

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