Jocelyn Pook's fascination with both the sacred early music traditions of Christianity, and the music of northern Africa, the nomadic tradition and Islamic influence, easily put a girdle round the earth in 40 minutes.
From the beginning track where ethereal female voices sing a choral Requiescat, she moves into something which opens out the horizons on the second track, with a vista of sandy deserts and nomadic camel riders, except that the strange beat, the synthesised soundscape behind the ululating female voices, suggest an almost other world, futuristic planet.
The fourth track, Oppenheimer, where the narrative voice at the beginning makes reference to Hindu devotional texts, Vishnu the destroyer, is apocalyptic. There is a harsh, windy soundscape which sounds like the end of the world has happened, through which weave and interweave prayerful music from Christianity and equally devotionally intense music of Arabic influence. It is almost like some final, terrible battle between major faiths, and at the end of things is harshness, and the beauty which mankind created (music) left to remind us of the devotion and the savagery of faiths.
Another track starts with the urban voices of children at play, and weaves the rich voice of Kathleen Ferrier singing Blow the Winds Southerly with the small soprano female choir singing a Pie Jesu. Pook clashes worlds together in an utterly new, hypnotic way
This is unsettling, haunting, beautiful music, at times uncomfortable and almost ugly - Masked Ball, with its sonorous beat, unintelligible, almost robotic half-spoken sampled backwards text - a Romanian Orthodox liturgy - but her music always demands attention be paid, and the listener to actively engage with it.
I don't know who is responsible for the primary female vocals on most of the tracks, the floated voice, but it is sublime!