"Rich ambient drone folk, earthy synth tones, field recordings - a babbling brook, a chirping bird, a child playing - and delicate fingerpicked guitar that fully blossoms on the sidelong title track finale, wrapped in a warm blanket of reverb, righteous work..." -PSI TAPES
"Lost in an intimate ethereal world created by M. Crook. As the sun rises above lengthy old growth pines, rays of light project through to the forest floor. An ancient stream, burrowed in the earth, moves at glacial pace. Water moving over rocks can be faintly heard complementing the drone background for our star's light, revealing all wonders. All of this takes place with the opening track titled "Freckled Hands". As the composition inches forward, birds awaken and ready themselves with song and splendor. The ambient background has slightly changed mirroring the intensity of a heating planet. Children have ventured out and their joy mixes with fauna. These sounds radiate from the second track titled "Ylla".
With the flip of this cassette, the title track "Kahani" rests alone on the second side. Here, drone has departed and gives the beautiful forest stage to skilled guitar. The sounds are upbeat and positively reinforce the idea, man can coexist with nature. In the world of M. Crook, inspiration from simple beauty flows through the mind and exits on the strings of an instrument. Taking a moment in time and space, then adding feeling from infinite consciousness. Captured on spools of magnetic tape for future listeners to hear a segment of audible beauty." - Lost in a Sea of Sound
"If ever the trickle of water dripping from the leaves of a forest after a rainstorm sounded so important, I can’t think of a single instance. “Freckled Hands,” the lead track to M. Crook’s cassette EP Kahani on Dismal Niche, foregrounds the natural sonics for almost six minutes while a guitar gently picks and a synth weightlessly hovers behind and beneath it. Or that’s what I heard on the first pass anyway – the water is so prevalent that it’s almost difficult to tell how seamlessly the entire thing is layered together. It’s all foreground. Or all background, depending on how you’re listening to it.
Kahani means “story” or “fable,” and Crook means for you to sit back and hear the wordless tales of south Asian mysticism brought to exquisite life. You can hear them in every drop of “Freckled Hands,” no matter what manifestation they take in your mind. It’s a strength in this short tape that Crook and his small stable of collaborators (credits include B. Chlapek – synth, J. Louis – field recordings, and of course the gorgeous cover photo is credited to L. Maybrier) are able to wring such enticing audio from their limited repertoire, and open what can only be described as magical naturalistic doorways into a pantheon of traditional narratives.
“Ylla” replaces the inherent movement of “Freckled Hands” with a more passive experience. The sounds of the forest enhance the synthesizer drone here, and settle you in for the (relatively) long haul of the rest of the EP. It’s the title track, though, that really shines. “Kahani” takes up side B in its entirety, and over thirteen minutes explores a bevy of emotional states, but it’s mainly euphoria. Actually, it mostly explores euphoria – it leaves me in a fairly euphoric state, at any rate. It begins in a lake of warm synthesizer, which only lasts for about two minutes before it switches to the main attraction: Crook’s powerful expressions realized through heavily reverbed acoustic guitar. It feels like a culmination of all that’s gone before, stretched and retold until meaning bleeds into itself and place masters time. It feels eternal.
Kahani is a great introduction to Crook, and a gorgeous cycle that celebrates terrestriality, our earthbound humanness. It’s easy to spin at any time, and, especially on “Kahani,” is an immersive experience, flecked with enchantment and wonder. How better to spend twenty-four minutes of your life? If you play it twice, you’ll kill forty-eight minutes!" - Critical Masses Media
released May 1, 2015
B. Chlapek - Synth
J. Louis - Field Recordings
L. Maybrier - Photo
M. Crook - Guitar, Synth