Ekove Efrits along with Silent Path are projects conceived by Iranian ‘Count De Efrit,’ or Saman N. I am not entirely sure if he operates from within Iran and if he does I am sure a certain amount of ambiguity is necessary especially as the strangely entitled Ekove Efrits essentially started out as a black metal project. Whilst some trappings of this style are at times incorporated on fourth full length Nowhere, musically this has progressed into a whole different realm despite the somewhat nihilistic title. Clues may well be given by the light and airy expansive cover art of the album, if not they certainly will become apparent when play is pressed and the faint intro piece that greets us is very simply the sound of bird song.
From here we go into somewhat progressive and depressive tones on ‘Public Theatre.’ Wretched gurgles come from Saman’s vocals and they jar uncomfortably and the music at times sounds like it has gone off key. This is disconcerting but thankfully does not last long and there is a saving grace too as Lycanthia vocalist Megan Tassaker also appears substantially on the album and when her full harmonious, lilting tones come in it’s a huge relief as I don’t think I could have handled too much of the male vocals the way they are presented. Musically there are many ideas to be found within the 53 minute listening experience and you find yourself being immersed into dream like qualities. Megan’s vocals are gorgeous and the enchanting feel of them on the gentle ‘Parallel Presence’ really put you in a mellow frame of mind, well it does until those croaks make their unwelcome appearance again. Until that point I was strongly reminded of The Gathering but when they come in along with strident guitars it’s like smog bringing urban decay to an otherwise perfect place. Perhaps that is the purpose?
Instrumental ‘Blessed By Nature’ is a lovely acoustic piece with a rumble of thunder and classical strings and woodwind, again very calming. Hinted at previously there is a much stronger trip-hop feel on the way too. Saman gives us some perfect spoken word and clean harmonies which fit in very well but again the blacker vocals really don’t for me and I wish he would drop them entirely. Apart from these I am getting the sort of feel I got from Ulver’s excellent Perdition City a bit mixed with the downbeat tones of Portishead from the music on tracks like ‘Infinitesimal.’
Metamorphosis made me sit up as although an instrumental which again drifts lazily by it utilises some instantly recognisable samples courtesy of Jack Nicholson and Scatman Crowthers from Kubrick’s seminal The Shining. I hate to sound like a stuck record but as we progress those horrible black rasps come back in and ruin things again. Saman is obviously a proficient musician, his cleaner tones are fine and he has a great singer in Megan. I just wish he would utilise these qualities and look at expanding his project in the future to embellish it with a capable harsher singer. This unfortunately has to be reflected in the score. Thankfully before we arrive at the end Megan is back and does some great Lisa Gerrard sounding parts that somewhat restore the balance. To me though ‘Nowhere’ is ultimately a unfortunately flawed listening experience.
(5.5/10 Pete Woods)