Label: Self-Released, December 2019
Reviewer: Chester Lipscomb
Goetia Profundium’s debut E.P. comes as something as a surprise. The trio, consisting of Jessica Concepción (Guitars), Geoff Strom (Drums, Percussion), and Ed Goodall (Synths, Vocals, Guitars, Bass), made some ripples a few years back as students, where they became principal members of the Institute’s Subterranean Orchestra in the mid-aughts. But not much had been heard from them since, aside from the occasional appearances sitting in with Institute music students for recitals and the odd Orchestra performance.
During their tenure, the trio became unofficial ambassadors to the Rust Belt experimental music community through weekend touring and, eventually, prolific collaboration with area musicians. Having feet in both sub-cultural and academic worlds put them in a particularly unique position to cross-pollinate geographically and aesthetically to the mutual benefit of those domains.
Prior to their involvement, the D.I.Y. music scenes in New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania were largely ignorant of the Institute’s cultural productions. Conversely, the academic cast of the Subterranean Orchestra has led to a certain insularity characteristic of the Institute as a whole. “A funny thing we discovered playing basement shows in these obscure little scenes,” Goodall says in an interview with the musicology journal Gesture, “was that they’d often approach performance with a sense of dramaturgy and ritual that would be completely at home in the Orchestra. There’s a spontaneous recovery of many of the aesthetic and semiotic principles that academia treats in a formal and analytical way. It’s fascinating, and the three of us wanted to expose ourselves to that as much as we could. Jessica went as far as to write her dissertation on some of these correspondences.”
The release under review is a startling refinement of a synthesis between precocious spontaneity and formal discipline.
The opening track “Vocare Nomine”, is a drone work of considerable density. As its title and placement at the head of the collection suggests, this functions as an invocation. Or rather, a representation of an invocation from the perspective of the Speaker. The timbral palette is weighty and dark. The sonic environment is decidedly monochrome, suggesting a place outside of time, flux and color. A stage clearing and sanctification. The subtle throbbing of the synths and bass, give a sense that the liminal space is alive, and perhaps unsettlingly, waiting.
This leads into the next track, a jagged and vertigo-inducing ride through tempos and looping, phasing melodic patterns. “The Sudden Hunger Of Distance” is frantic and kaleidoscopic. One feels conducted inexorably along, drawn with mounting intensity through scenes of fractal violence.
Finally, “Vis-a-Vis” sets the listener in a tense, delicate stasis. The Summoner and Guest joined at either side of the rent fabric separating the Temporal from the Eternal. Harmony in opposition, totality achieved in spite of rationally insuperable obstacles to connection- “Magna Visitationis” zeros in on this process. Goetia Profundis tackles these themes with confidence and zeal. And it’s good to have them back.