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“Sun Baked Snow Cave” is a masterpiece. When a single song lasts an album’s entire length, it will either prove a masterpiece or a failure, and this is a gigantic, crushing and inspired masterpiece.
Starting with a relaxing acoustic intro, consisting of the central theme growing and expanding, yet simultaneously remaining calm and minimal, after around twelve minutes, this acoustic theme starts to duel with noise that fades in over a period of around 7 minutes growing stronger and stronger, come the nineteenth minute it has been totally overpowered by this colossal, booming, droning rumble, gravely and deep yet calm and relaxing at the same time – this is the start of the second distinct section of the song. By the twenty third minute, the bubbling rumble has become accompanied by a lead of feedback, and soon the cacophony has you in laid out in a sedated rapture, the sound itself encompassing your entire being and holding you still, but you don’t mind as you’re in aural ecstasy. It’s loud and getting louder, and so, so heavy, the atmosphere thick, dense with the leaden sound that weighs you down, and before you know, you can hear the introduction of some phase – you check the clock and it’s the 37th minute – it’s phasing one moment, the next it’s turned into a frenzied squeal, and then back to phasing – and the phase roars and builds up and gets heavier before all of a sudden there is a lull, and the volume lowers slightly, and now you can hear it, the phase sounds like a snowstorm, the atmosphere that’s encapsulated you has laid you in the warmth of a snow cave.
Come the 43rd minute, you’ve come to realise that over the last five or so minutes the volume’s been gradually decreasing, though the atmosphere is still surrounding you heavily, not allowing you to stop taking notice, not allowing respite from the calmness. Then, after another two minutes you feel your heart jump and there is an undistorted electric guitar that comes out of nowhere and within moments, the cacophony has died away, though the guitar still with it’s own massive sound, despite any lack of bite: it’s a relaxed, delayed, hypnotic motif that again is soon accompanied by the snow-phase. This guitar marks the coming of the final section of the piece – you’ve dug your snow cave in the first section, the second section saw the snowstorm coming and crushing all around it, and now the snow simply… falls… and the sun shines down on your hideout once more.
Despite the storm, you want to be no place other than this cave, the euphoric haze of the guitar with the quiet effects in all of their noisy calmness, you’ve just been on a journey to somewhere else, distant Patagonia, maybe, or an arctic plain, wherever it is doesn’t matter: you’ve been there even if it was just a dream. This song is glacial in its size and speed, and invokes truly amazing soundscapes that bring back memories of places you’ve never been and visions of scenes you’ve never seen but yet are all so familiar – a song as powerful as this is a rarity, and deserves to be listened to by all. It really is probably my favourite single song of all time. Despite the length of 62 minutes, “Sun Baked Snow Cave” feels like five minutes, a true testament to time flying when you’re not simply enjoying yourself, but having an experience like this. Just remember that when you listen to it, to have no other background noise, as when the song ends it’s transition in to silence, you’re not sure if that silence is part of the song, or if the song has finished and you’re just lain down and listening to the sounds of nothing. Either way, you don’t care and are happy to listen in still euphoria to the soundlesscape that the song has allowed you to experience in the nothing you now reside.