Hellenica - Blood Moon Wolf Head

The release of Blood Moon Wolf Head by Jim Demos, under his Hellenica moniker, coincided with el Dia de los Muertos - the day of the dead. According to Demos, the album is meant as an offering to the deceased. A preliminary reading about this holiday finds that it's meant to allow friends and family to congregate together, to remember those who have died, and to offer the deceased support through their spiritual journey back to earth. What kind of spiritual support to the dead is this album, an album described by Demos as the celebration of improvisation and composition? Like the mixing of these two musical worlds, perhaps Demos is offering the view that there is interconnectedness between the earthly and spiritual worlds; a oneness with a community that doesn't end at death.

"Burning of the Effigies" starts the whole thing off with a spaghetti-western vibe. The looped plucking of several grungy guitar notes is accompanied by slide guitar and chanting vocals. This track seems to act as a kind of portal to the world in which Demos wants to explore. The whole effect is both eerie and hypnotic. The isolated sounds of "Infraction" follow. The track offers a nice juxtaposed soundscape highlighting the acoustic guitar in this sparse world, culminating with frantic guitar work and the sounds of fireworks. Clearly, the celebration continues.

"Photogenesis" builds slowly with acoustic guitar loops, and other wonderfully subtle sounds littering about, before blasts of synth help to awaken you from the trance the album has put you under. The closing track, "Frozen Landscapes", is an optimistic ending to this journey for the dead.

The album nicely mixes a variety of elements and flavours. Demos admits as much, stating that the album intermingles field recordings, synths and loops. The sonic atmosphere creates a dreamlike feel throughout the album. Listening to Blood Moon Wolf Head requires patience. The world is slow and sparse and has more in common with sound art than pop music, but it is a journey worth taking.


--Fredy M. Iuni hosts Hiway 1, Mondays at 7:00 pm on CJLO.