Review: Bonini Bulga – Sealed


Depression is a potent burden; a phantom that draws would be pleasure from your surroundings, consumes all sublime ecstasies, and leaves nothing but marrowless experiences. Close it creeps in your peripherals, blotting your day-to-day with misery. Dissociated it leaves you; your body awake, but your mind vacant – meandering. After a marathon of this diurnal monotony, I attempted to dispel this crushing weight with a lonesome stride among the old palisades of an orchard. Headphones over ears with Sealed humming among the mossy branches, blowing so gently the lush green canopy above, time passed – became irrelevant. It carried away crippling thoughts, anxiety and shored up existential calm, understanding.

Bonini Bulga is Pär Boström’s latest project debuted with Hypnagoga Press’s third Solar Zine. This neoteric sonic spectrum divulges uncharted sounds and simultaneously denotes a deepening of Hypnagoga Press’s work. Here, cartographers Pär and Åsa Boström unveil their first map of the realms they have explored – some together, others alone – and the hidden inner worlds they wish to manifest. Each project, ensconced in their own circle, pockmarks a continent of unknown size flanked by a sea to the east and the west. At its heart lies Hymnambulae, the organ house; a mythological abode between worlds – a project merging Pär and Åsa’s symbolism. To the northeast is Kammarheit, the catacombs, the mountains, the city; to the southeast, Cities Last Broadcast; both dark ambient projects of Pär, gargantuan in mass, these edgelands shimmer and brood with timeless masterpieces. A jaunt to the west of Cities Last Broadcast is Bonini Bulga, the dollhouse; a vertical slice partitions its demarcation. It is this borderland that Pär and Åsa glimpse in their third zine; a realm where hierophants Bonini and Bulga reside. The siblings surrender to listening and transcribe in surreal tongue the infinitely mysterious ceremony that transpires between the two hierophants. Beyond these words, beyond theophany, Pär’s drift through the hemispheres – the ether – unveils a sacred artifact, Sealed.

Eastern half of Hypnagoga Press’s first version of their map.

Bonini Bulga’s etching near Cities Last Broadcast is not arbitrary. Sealed can – in part – be likened to the chilling sounds on Cities Last Broadcast’s Humming Tapes, albeit pared to minimalist loops and drones. This is not to say there is less to absorb on Sealed. Rather, there is this omnipresent bleakness that washes over and consumes your thoughts. The dense vibrations, the rumbling waves, slice into this primordial vein of your being, one that is fathomless and unsullied by time. It whispers in cryptic vernacular. And somehow, it stirs solace.

Sealed endures five compositions, each a sliver of the hierophants’ rite. Synthesizers transmit the eerie atmosphere stifling the chamber where they exist for the album’s thirty-minute duration. “Each Named” observes Bonini and Bulga entering the room. They bow to each other and bend the palisades encasing them. A sublime drone wafts through the dollhouse; it shines then fades in hypnotic rhythm. Fragments of strings scurry. They scratch inside static swirls, casting porcelain dust up into a shroud of ashen darkness. Over all thinking, Bonini’s cowled skull gazes. “By A Higher Thought” the Hierophant contemplates in the thrums – watching, waiting. Meditative the reverberations float in peaceful desolation. The Other shapes and twists – “Each With Six Wings” – queer geometries, overseeing process with a crowned head. Frigid frequencies ring and sustain throughout the chamber. Peculiar warbles coil, coo, and whir from behind the Hierophant’s veil. Expressionless their concealed faces move toward each other; a manifestation of being and unbeing. Static crackles in a hazy froth. The warped palisades shiver. Dim an opaque light strikes their pallid masks, wavering with such gray shadows. The atmosphere shudders as they merge. And together they croon, “Sealed As One”.

So delicate does Pär capture the coalescence of Bonini and Bulga, existence and non-existence. With his minimal approach and the siblings’ ethereal tale, Sealed converges towards some form of inner self-alignment. Effortlessly it lulls you into a reverie, slipping into your subconscious to reveal untrodden realms somewhere deep inside your flesh. It is a fleeting listen. But it enthralls with such enigmatic fervor you feel untethered by time – weightless and free.


Below is a teaser video for Bonini Bulga, which will give you a chilling slice of what to expect.

You can pick up a digital copy of Sealed at the Bonini Bulga Bandcamp page. If you’re so inclined, you can also purchase a copy of Hypnangoga Press’s third Solar Zine at their Bandcamp page, which includes a cassette of Sealed (note this is limited to 50 copies). You can also visit the Hypnagoga Press website at the following web address.


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