Tabs Out | Shanyio – Unseen Realm

Shanyio – Unseen Realm

10.9.19 by Ryan Masteller

Anybody can be a fan of Alexandru Hegyesi, aka Shaniyo, because there are just so many points of entry, so many points of reference on a given release that there’s really just no excuse. Nominally a folk archivist, Shanyio combines his own material with field recordings and ambience and noise to translate a language (musical, but Romanian) into something completely new and compelling, a lexicon that’s easy to slip into once you’ve got the hang of it. And it’s not hard to get the hang of – I didn’t even need my Rosetta Stone tapes (a long discussion for another time) to work out the Shanyio worldview, which is good because that would’ve probably taken a couple weeks before I could even listen to “Unseen Realm” anyway. See how useless those tapes are? Wait’ll my boss hears about my latest Ukrainian “mishap.”

“Unseen Realm” can be treated like a real unseen realm, one where fairy tales and folklore exist among a population steeped in tradition. It’s like a village tucked away in the mountains in old Europe, where the ghosts still flit among the local tombstones and ancient hexes continue to ward off evil. It’s a deep dive into all that, and Shanyio is our guide, piping in local ensembles among his scrabbling and sculpting, his séance-ing and soothsaying, and those might even be the same thing. Here he’s curated an anthropological smorgasbord, delicate and fragile like ancient scrolls from some mountain library, yet robust and vibrant like the spells cast when the words are read on ancient scrolls from some mountain library. There’s just too much to delight in, too much unearthing of the mysterious and the bygone, too much here to educate you into the next version of yourself, which is probably even better than the version that’s stumbling around Starbucks and murmuring discontentedly about “wrong order” and “name’s not Bike Staley.”

Anyway, you’ll thank me for steering you toward “Unseen Realm” so you don’t have to shell out for a plane ticket and Airbnb somewhere in the heart of rural Eastern Europe. Unless you want to! Actually, I might look into it.


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