An Illustrated Review of Revelator Sound System’s “Revelators”

Carl Antonowicz is a Texas-reared, Tulsa-based illustrator, performer, writer, director, cartoonist, and calligrapher. Support his work on Patreon!

I live for unexpected moments. Tease expectations and then throttle them before rising into the cosmic cloud with something from another dimension, and I am hooked. MC Taylor and Cameron Ralston are known for digging through the deepest roots, but the divine ghosts resurrected on these intimate spiritual explosions are high in the clouds.

Straight off, the world expands with the opening saxophone call of “Grieving,” folding into dub-inflected grooves and vibrant arrangements. Progressive rhythms slap the waves beneath gilded, feverish clavichord channels, turning the ecstatic joy to ten. An ecclesiastical fervor is brewing, but it’s built on the brightest unhallowed soil. Glistening piano arpeggiations welcome the dawn with ebullience before floating off into a tape-warbled wormhole. “Grieving” is the perfect opener.

Timeless energy permeates the foundations of Revelators. Ancient songs drift across the haze of decaying decades on “Bury the Bell,” imbued with a sonorous shine from ethereal woodwinds and lilting strings. Pedal steel filters through the rafters with a devotional resonance. Light and magic are the calling cards of the sacred. Without spectacle and pretense, the orchestral wanderings lead us to the heart of solace, where we commune with the stars. Beautiful magic wavers in the cosmic cloud.

That conjured charm is interlaced throughout Revelators, returning as reflective bass lines glide effortlessly across pointillist piano motifs and elegiac sonic meditations in the deep stretches of “Collected Water.” It’s as though each note is echoing across millennia, summoning new lifetimes with each celestial chord progression. Space is the place, and time traveling is just another state of mind.

But Revelators Sound System doesn’t just transcend interdimensional space; they have one foot firmly rooted in the terrene. In the closing minutes of Revelators, Taylor and Ralston shake down the canyon walls with “George the Revelator.” Effusive, mystical aural shapes materialize from the dust clouds. Dubwise, serendipity swims in each submerged passageway. Adrift. Unchained. The world of Revelators Sound System is built on an architecture of free spirits and dreams, and these spectral symphonic explorations are a gift.

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