Betacicadae is probably not a name you will easily remember.
It concatenates Beta (“obsolete magnetic tape, a second version, something lowly“) with Cicada (“strange and humble insect that emanates beautiful sound”).
And: it is the artist alias of Kevin Scott Davis.
“Mouna“ – available on CD, clear white vinyl, or as a digital download – is not easy to describe, since it contains many different styles.
Still it manages to present a coherent, “narrative” sound. I found myself returning to it and playing it over and over again – which is ususally a sign of something special going on…
‘It is a cohesive whole that employs a broad spectrum of textures and extends far beyond formula like “drone” or “field recordings”. The sounds absorb, project, embrace, and comfort the listener in imaginary geography—surreal, dreamlike spaces beween earth and otherworldliness.”
“Mouna“, by the way, is explained as “practice of silence, wish, revelation” and indeed that is what the album transcends.
The album has an almost ‘post-rockish’ dynamic range, from calm and quiet to ecstatic and noisy, and some sudden mood switches. But in the end, all tracks perfectly fit together.
The composition of all tracks originated from field recordings (“A farm in Oregon, a rainforest in Hawaii”) which were then layered with the sounds of many different instruments. Kevin Scott Davis plays all instruments (field recordings, guitar, flute, vibraphone, harp, violin, percussion, synthesizers, and of course a lot of effects and digital processing) himself, with the exception of the bright voice of Helen Funston that adds an extra dimension to the closing track called “Telerehabilitation”.
This track is a fitting end to this fascinating psycho-acoustic journey: ‘strange and humble’ and ’emanating beautiful sounds” indeed.
BETACICADAE – PIRENE