Harvestman "Triptych: Part Two" - Deathwish Inc

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Harvestman "Triptych: Part Two"


At its heart, music has always been a questioning of inheritance – a dialogue with predecessors and forebears, the forging of one’s own perspective in relation to what has come before, and for some, a plunge into the boundless realms between. For Steve Von Till, that process has always taken on an added dimension to become the most sacred of tasks. Whether through the apocalyptic uprising of Neurosis, the sonic deconstructions of their sister project, Tribes of Neurot, the invocatory intimacy of his eponymous solo albums or his instrumental psychedelic reveries in the guise of Harvestman, that dialogue has never just been with musical influences, but with what underpins them: the primordial, elemental forces now banished to the peripheries of our contemporary consciousness, yet still broadcasting a signal for all who will listen.

Released periodically on three of 2024’s full moons – April 23rd’s Pink Moon, July 21st’s Buck Moon and October 17th’s Hunter Moon – the three-album cycle, “Triptych”, is Harvestman’s most ambitious undertaking yet. But it’s also the distillation of a unique approach that finds a continuity amongst the fragmented, treating all its myriad musical sources and reference points not as building bricks, but as tuning forks for a collective ancestral resonance, residing in that liminal space between the fundamental and the imaginary, the intrinsic and the speculative.

Drawn to the megaliths, ruins and ancient sites mapped out along the British and European mainland’s geographical and psychic landscapes, the folklore and apocrypha forever resurfacing as portals from a rational world, “Triptych” is a meditation forged from traces and residues, and an hallucinatory recollection of artists who have tapped into that enduring otherworldliness embedded within us all. It’s a dream diary narrating a passage through Summer Isle where Flying Saucer Attack are wafting out of a window, a distant Fairport Convention are being remixed by dub master Adrian Sherwood, celestial scanners Tangerine Dream are trying to drown out Bert Jansch and Hawkwind are playing Steeleye Span covers, all prised out of time yet bound to its singularity.
Woven together from home studio recordings that span two decades, this latest outing as Harvestman finds parallels with nature’s cycles not just in its release dates but in the repeated structure that binds each album, like an imprint refracted through three separate strata. As with April’s “Part One” and the forthcoming “Part Three”, “Part Two”, starts on a collaboration with Om bassist and long-term friend of Steve’s, Al Cisneros, with a dub take opening the B-Side. Here, the opening track, “The Hag Of Beara Vs The Poet”’s languid, tribal groove expands into a chromatic wash, like an endless drip of oil spreading out under a midsummer haze. 

A filtering of the alpha-state travelogues of its predecessor, “Part Two” reaches even deeper into primal yet pristine states. It journeys from the undulating drone and slow-thawing wonder of “The Falconer”, as if the Myst soundtrack were being broadcast from outer space, through “Damascus”’s perpetual-motion, dreamtime bazaar and “Vapour Phase”s seismograph frequencies measuring supernatural tremors to “The Unjust Incarceration”s distorted bagpipes, sounding a noise-frayed lament.

If “Triptych” is a multi- and extra-sensory experience, it extends to the remarkable glyph-style artwork of Henry Hablak, a map of correspondences from a long-forgotten ancient and advanced civilization. As with “Triptych” itself, it’s an echo from another time, an act of binding, a guide to be endlessly reinterpreted, and a signpost to the sacred that might not indicate where to look, but how.

Track Listing:
01. The Hag of Beara vs. the Poet
02. The Falconer
03. Damascus
04. The of Hag of Beara vs. the Poet (Forest Dub)
05. Vapour Phase
06. Galvanized and Torn Open
07. The Unjust Incarceration