Last year the return of Rhyton was a welcome surprise. The band’s Bandcamp release of Krater’s Call brought the Rhyton’s amalgam of psychedelic scald, American roots, and European folk inklings together into an undeniable album. The band’s latest wasn’t recorded so much as a follow-up as a simultaneous endeavor, having been assembled over the past four years as the players found studio time. The four years were well spent, as this is one of the deepest dredges of the Rhyton sound system — a dark seance perpetuating choogle in reverse. The opener cracks the lid on the band’s swamp vapor psychedelic funk, but they dive much deeper into the darkness as the album wears on. The almost dance dalliance of the opener, which sees Shuford’s guitar contorting around Rob Smith’s skitter of drums, gives way to the hunger of “LIT on the DL,” a gris-gris fumed vision of Clear Spot shimmy with an Alan Bishop-level leering vocal.

The band lets the listener up for air, releasing us from the sinister spell of the album’s first moments, but the looser atmosphere isn’t meant to last. Desperation seeps into “Croz” before the band lets the disarray of Canterbury fever dreams begin to dissolve the edges of their established reality. With Al Carlson and Hans Chew showing up on sax and clavinet respectively, the band turns their ‘Soft Machine sitting in with Gong’ ambitions into a thick neon reality before the pre-dawn slink returns to the fore. With Pharaonic Crosstalk, the band has created an immersive journey into the nebula and back, and one of 2021’s more essential releases. Incredible fare from Rhyton and Feeding Tube, two forces that consistently seem to rise to the occasion.

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