Video Premiere: Geist & the Sacred Ensemble – “Closed Eye”

Geist & the Sacred Ensemble album cover

For over a decade, Geist & the Sacred Ensemble have been crafting ritualistic doom-folk that curses modernity’s pitfalls. Named after the road where he grew up in Pennsylvania’s Amish country, the compositions of band founder M. Sauder (AKA Geist) are somewhere between Tribes of Neurot, Nick Cave and Swans at their most contemplative. Now based in Washington state, Geist and his collaborators examine Western culture’s withering empathy and booming consumerism on their upcoming Waning Hymns LP. But Geist isn’t content to just observe and reprimand. Waning Hymns offers hope and understanding amid desolate soundscapes and turbulent times. Decibel has an exclusive video for the project’s new song “Closed Eye” before the release of Waning Hymns on July 31st.

Director James Hollenbaugh matches the song’s eerie atmosphere with superimposed images and glacial pacing. Like the song’s muted menace, violent winds rage behind the stillness of yellow flowers. In “Closed Eye,” Geist & the Sacred Ensemble focus on meditative instrumental ambience instead of apocalyptic poetry. Low hums and ominous tones. The flickering imperfections of film stock. The distant shrieks of woodwinds. The collective’s usual 10+ minute oaken song structure is absent, replaced with nebulous unease. Within Waning Hymns, “Closed Eye” a perfect chaser for the urgent admonishments of “Volition.” You can listen to “Volition” on Bandcamp as well, and see how the songs play with texture and mood when played consecutively.

“This video was made using 8mm and 16mm film footage from Iceland by filmmaker James Hollenbaugh,” M. Sauder shares. “It is the visual narrative to an inward journey influenced by the natural world. We hope its meditative pace will lead the listener to new pathways inside their mind and spirit. This music first appeared in the short film “Searching Skies” by Vivian Hua which I scored, as part of the Seventh Art Stand film series. The series seeks to expose and end bigotry, specifically Islamaphobia.”

Stream “Closed Eye” below with your peepers open or shut before the release of Waning Hymns. Just make sure to press play and surrender to the earthy majesty of Geist & the Sacred Ensemble.

Pre-order Waning Hymns at Bandcamp HERE

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Geist & the Sacred Ensemble photo by Marc Santo