Numinous Island is a collaboration between ambient techno and trance producer Susumu Yokota and psychedelic trance pioneer Ray Castle, one of the original DJs at the beach parties of Goa in the late 1980s. Produced in Tokyo in the summer of 1994 (a studio session that also yielded the Sonic Sufi album Sacramental), this album contains 20 ambient compositions arranged into a continuous mix. Each track blends smoothly into the next, tantalizing the listener with exotic samples and tribal percussion, almost sounding like Muslimgauze for the Asian tropics. Despite the simplicity of many of these arrangements they are never bland or boring; there is a visionary weirdness to this cult classic that still has the power to mesmerize and transform.
An aside: if you’re curious about the name, as I was, you might be interested in perusing Peter Blegvad’s essay On Numinous Objects and Their Manufacture. This review made the connection; I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere else, but seems to fit with the sort of thing Ray Castle is known to like. A choice quotation: “an object with sufficient numinous charge can stop time” (emphasis from the original), a property shared by this intriguing audio artifact.
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