Children of the Black Sun is an elliptical journey, an invigorating passage through one orbit of Boyd Rice's vision. It's an album riddled with clues as to Rice's intent. To his credit as an artist, however, he leaves the particulars of your voyage unexplained.

From the opening invocation of "Arkaö" (in French, a possible homage to Jean Cocteau, to whom the album is dedicated), Children of the Black Sun creates an atmosphere of tension and beauty. Delicate harp glissandos and heavenly strings start on high, then descend into deeper, darker timbres. The instrumentation is unrecognizable: Music is composed of sound, ebbs and tides of drone that slip through each other fluidly. Instead of the punishing mass for which Non is renowned, the music now is softer but just as powerful. "Serpent of the Abyss" is a cavernous echo, menacing, scraped strings, an all-encompassing rumble that still allows for the distant plink of water beads. This ominous roar becomes the slap of water on a bark's hull, which gives way to majestic processional horn peals and the closing backward declamation of "Son of the Sun."

But what does it all mean? Is this a new soundtrack for Cocteau's Orphée? A map to the final resting place of Orpheus' head? An occult code that, when broken, reveals the illuminating rays of the invisible Black Sun? What are you looking for? What will you find? Children of the Black Sun is merely a conveyance: It falls on you to make the journey.


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