Ayyur Channels Longing through Ancient Lunar Lore on New EP (Full Premiere)
Extreme music thrives on liminality. Being "out there" gives artists a chance to explore stuff that's cosmic, grand, obscure. In the case of Tunisia's Ayyur, their new EP Hidden Rooms Sessions I is a wistful exploration of Berber lore—Ayyur is the name of a lunar deity worshiped by the Berbers (or Imazighen) in ancient times. Ayyur uses spare instrumental folk passages and sections of doomy black metal to paint nocturnal scenes suffused with loss and longing.
Beginning with the sorrowful "They Learned to Suffer in Silence," the EP—the first in a planned trilogy—meanders through gauzy synth landscapes and windswept guitar passages. The songs' titles paint a picture of stoic suffering, of historic wrongs borne patiently over centuries. It's telling that the deity Ayyur's fertility powers are considered stronger during the new moon. In this way, Hidden Rooms Sessions I is pregnant with the power of absence and the pain of waiting too long for a return.
Ayyur explains more about the mythology behind the record:
AYYUR ("the moon," in Tifinagh: ⴰⵢⵢⵓⵔ) is a lunar deity worshiped by the Berbers during ancient times. In Berber mythology, the moon is associated with fertility, culture, beauty, the feminine and humidity, a symbolism confirmed by several studies of Berber myths and rites. The link with water and fertility during the new moon phase is even more present among Tuareg people, with evidence found by Charles de Foucauld at the beginning of the 20th century, in ritual texts carved on the rocks of the Hoggar Mountains.
For a people indigenous to an expanding desert, water and fertility are inextricably linked. At the heart of the record is the sound of a flowing stream touching off "To the Ancient Ones." This song, surrounded by other compositions speaking to absence, emptiness, and weariness, feels like a plea. Ayyur seems to be reaching far back into the past on this first section of what promises to be a timeless triptych. Adding to the sense of lore, the band will be issuing the EP in a handcrafted wooden box accompanied by a poster (as well as on cassette through Xenoglossy Productions and Hidden Room Recordings). Stream the full EP now ahead of its release on November 11.
I wasn't originally supposed to write about this record. However, it's fitting to take over from our late friend Brandon Nurick on an EP so full of Sehnsucht. This premiere is dedicated to Brandon's memory and to anyone else waiting for the dawn beneath a new moon