If horror films have taught us anything about the world, it’s that the countryside can be a marvelous retreat or a disorienting journey into unexplored darkness. Los Angeles experimental artist Emma Ruth Rundle knows this all too well having explored the backroads of Europe. She translated her experiences into Electric Guitar One, an improvised ambient and drone work recorded on the road in 2010 and released in 2011. More than a decade later, Rundle revisits the countryside with new eyes in the second installment of the Electric Guitar series, EG2: Dowsing Voice.
Recorded during the winter of 2020 in Wales, EG2: Dowsing Voice is a mythology of Rundle’s own making. The album is full of vocal experiments and improvisations underscored with symphonic elements and masterful guitar work where she intuits the sounds of goddess-like creatures from deep forests, underground caves, and swelling wells. Rundle uses these themes to invite listeners into a shared, fantastic vision of the cycle of life—from birth until death. The record is mesmerizing, with Rundle playing with throat singing, screaming, vocalizing, and creating made-up languages to tell the story of a magical, ancient civilization, and their travails through the Welsh forest.
EG2: Dowsing Voice opens with “Intro to the Undepool: The Path, The Gate, The Feel, The Well,” a haunting track that features Rundle bending guitar chords into glitched, reverb-heavy sounds accompanied by a foreboding cello. It’s a perfect entry into the dreamscape that Rundle has created, preparing listeners for the acoustic “Keening into Ffynnon Llanllawer” and the chilling throat singing of “In the Cave of the Cailleach’s Death-Birth.” Rundle’s use of echoes and silences has the effect of creating an expansive world teeming with life. The album progresses through cycles of peace and turmoil with Rundle’s vocalization experiments returning results that, while unsettling, are intimate and beautiful.
EG2: Dowsing Voice is a strange work of art and a template to fill with your own dreams, desires, and fears—a guided meditation into darkness.