Black Sun Ensemble - "Starlight"
(Camera Obscura 2003, CAM059CD)

Uploaded to Aural Innovations: October 2003

I first heard about Black Sun Ensemble courtesy of a review in Byron Coley and Jimmy Johnson’s Forced Exposure magazine back in the mid 80’s. It took me a couple of years to track down a copy of their debut LP, but it was one of those perception changing experiences that make music that THING that just does it for the true fan of music as an ultimate form of individualist expression, y’know? We all have a short list of those records that just reset the bar, and for me BSE’s debut was one of them. Camera Obscura also reissued the debut on CD, do yourself a big favor and check it out. While they all have fine moments none of the post debut BSE records that came out on Reckless through the late 80’s/early 90’s were really in the same league, and after a bunch of personnel changes and murmurings about mental problems lead guy/guitarist Jesus Acedo called it quits around 1994 or so. A few years ago a new lineup appeared, with members of the Tucson bands Sun Zoom Spark and Infinite Beauties. This is the second full length of the new lineup, and it is really a different beast than the original band, although certainly some of the elements remain. The opener, “Jewel of the Seven Stars”, is a real stunner, with a mantra like vibe and some lovely playing, filled out with sax and clarinet - along with the short instrumental “Tralaine”. This track is the most reminiscent of the first BSE. Elsewhere, as on “Loki’s Monstrous Blood”, “Angel of Light” and the scorching “The Lycian”, the band explores more aggressive rock, with Acedo adopting a harsh, sometimes atonal metallic sound. “Arabic Satori” and “I Am I Was” remind me of eccentric desert fried rock of Calexico and Giant Sand. This is a more solid collection than last year’s “Return of the Master”. It doesn’t floor me the way that their debut did, but hell those things only come along a few times in life - I’m glad Acedo and Co. are back and I look forward to hearing more

For more information you can visit the Camera Obscura web site at:
Contact via snail mail c/o Camera Obscura; PO Box 5069; Burnley; VIC 3121; Australia.
CLICK HERE to read a review of the new Sun Zoom Spark CD, also in this issue.

Reviewed by Brian Faulkner

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