There has always been a groove and a beat echoing through When Mountains Speak that has leaned more toward Eastern climes than Western traditions. Even when driven by the more expected complete drum set, the time signatures, patterns, and pacing are less than conventional when compared with the rock and pop genres. But then, When Mountains Speak has never shied away from the fact that they are happy to plough a unique and solitary furrow through sonic creativity and musical potential why beyond convention.
So, the band hooking up with master Tabla player Shreyas Iyer makes perfect sense. If you already have inclinations towards oriental beats and eastern drumming, why not collaborate with an expert? And so it is to the tabla, perhaps the most recognisable and resonant sound of South Asia, that forms the platform for this latest release.
Taken from a 5 track EP to follow, titled Skipping The Divide, Whimstruck, as always, plays by its own rules. The tablas ebb and flow between pacy beats and spacious lulls, matching the guitar lines which wilfully wander and meaningfully meander through the sonic other lands. Melodies tumble through lush soundscaping, riffs wax and wane between focused expression and dream-like motifs, sometimes forged out of chord progressions, more often rewriting the rules of structure and song. And all the time, the bass finds unique positions in between, sometimes punctuation and pushing, other times holding down more melodic roles to free the guitar up to advance adventurously; four strings grooving and grumbling, leading and following, poised and puzzling in equal measure.
There comes the point, usually when you try to explain to a third party what it is that When Mountains Speak do, that you find yourself in the realms of philosophy rather than music. They challenge the nature of song itself. They take the already loose structures of psychedelia and create something even more wild, even more wayward, perhaps post-psychedelia, perhaps even post-melody.
But that is fine; everyone knows how a three-minute pop song works; we’ve been dancing to those for seventy years. It is great that someone is brave enough to explore, not just what lies outside that form, but outside the form that lies outside even that form. It’s all about the fringes. That’s where the exciting stuff happens. When Mountains Speak is about as fringey as you can get.
For EP and more info go to WhenMountainsSpeak.com