In an interview with Emboss Magazine, Toronto-based artist Ramsha explains her creative process: “My role as a musician is to sculpt harmonies out of sounds and vibrations which further the beauty of the cosmos”. This reads less like an explanation and more like a manifesto, and it’s quite refreshing to hear an artist speak so clearly about aims and objectives, even if those objectives are as vague as trying to capture galactic beauty. In her 2015 release ‘Daastanemarg’, Ramsha passed her music through the prism of post-rock. ‘Cosmic Meditation Killed Me’, possibly the EP’s strongest track, was very much a post-rock anthem with all the build-up and climaxes that are incumbent to the genre. And even though it’s a fantastic track, especially as it edges into shoegaze, there’s nonetheless the feeling that the post-rock framework is somewhat limiting, especially when you have cosmic ambitions.
And so, from the very first seconds of her latest EP ‘Veils’, Ramsha seems to shoulder the limitations of the genre and move into glitch, ambient and noise. We’re greeted into the EP with the 12 minute long eponymous track, which immediately glitch-pans from left to right, along with tidal waves of noise. Already there is something ‘bigger’ about the sound while remaining intimate. Discordant elements creep in throughout, buzzy synths circle, but there’s awe and majesty in the builds. When, halfway through, we’re brought down to the shores of a secluded beach to listen to the softly lapping waves, it’s honestly cinematic. We’re not there long as Ramsha is keen to fire us back into space, but it’s a standout moment for the EP. One of those goosebump moments, where if you’re in the right space, in the right time, it can seem absolutely transcendental.
Digression: attempts to capture the cosmic always need to reconcile the sheer scale of the universe with whatever the human mind can comprehend. Whether it’s Hans Zimmer’s organ in the Interstellar OST, or the cathedral choirs of Tavener, scale and vastness are of primary importance. So it’s always somewhat shocking to see the amount of sound that can be produced from even the most rudimentary digital equipment and sampling.
The rest of the EP never quite reaches the peaks of ‘Veils’, although there are some interesting moments. The radio static bursts at the end of ‘Sgr A*’ for instance – particularly as Sagitarrius A is known as a radio source and possible black hole in the Milky Way – or the churning of ‘Avenoir’ (meaning ‘the desire that memory could flow backward’ according to the fictional dictionary of Obscure Sorrows), which adds the perspective of time into the mix. (I plugged the track into a reverser and it was equally as anxious and distorted, which was interesting to hear just fyi).
With ‘Veils’, Ramsha seems to shrug off shackles and more freely express her astronomic curiosity. The lack of percussion, rather than being subtractive, actually allows her to move into more abstract and cosmic territory: her objective all along.