When others introduced Geist & The Sacred Ensemble to me as “weird folk-psych,” I knew immediately that I would find in them a welcome change from more common interpretations of modern psychedelic music. To my surprise, though, what I soon found within the gritty confines of Seattle’s Black Lodge was a cinematic musical achievement, from a band that can exercise excellent musical and visual control over their live performance – without actually employing their own visuals.

 

June 12th, 2012 @ The Black Lodge – Seattle, WA

“At their quietest, Geist & The Sacred Ensemble entrance audiences with Dust Bowl and tumbleweed levels of silence, only to subsequently lift them up towards bovine-levitating, UFO-sighting swells.”

 

In practice, watching Geist & The Sacred Ensemble’s set was hardly about watching them at all. At least, not with mine actual eyes. Watching their set was more about seeing them in the cinema of my mind, where a filmmaker with a more vivid and visual imagination than my more articulated self is ruler. Geist & The Sacred Ensemble’s soundtrack of the night, which was full-on engaging and complete with multiple movements, did indeed possess “folk”, “weird”, and “psych” elements, but was exceptionally more visual and unpredictable than four men playing instruments usually is. Their film was not quite a western, sci-fi, or adventure tale, but contained qualities of all; it was one set in a world of browns and burnt umbers, panning past natural beauty mixed in with human grit, dry straw matted with dirt. At their quietest, Geist & The Sacred Ensemble entrance audiences with Dust Bowl and tumbleweed levels of silence, only to subsequently lift them up towards bovine-levitating, UFO-sighting swells. Exceptional moments of dissonance conjure images of guitar strings ensnared in barbed wire fences, while the band occasionally loosens their reigns to allow for sloppy galloping percussion and coarse vocal drones.

This is folk-inspired music for the centuries, past and future. By the end of Geist & The Sacred Ensemble’s set, so many images had flashed through my mind, divergent yet related by mood, that I felt as though I’d even witnessed Jesus trudging through paths of spit and blood on his way to Mount Calvary. I bow to thee, Geist & The Sacred Ensemble! For how I wish you might soundtrack my life, to connect its darkest, most desolate moments to so many others in the same sphere of sense, rather than sound alone.

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