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Disappointing live recording - 30%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, February 17th, 2008

An unusual and intriguing album title we've got here though if you're familiar with Dylan Carlson and Earth's music it's the kind of terse yet mysterious title that seems to say more than it actually does that you would expect of this band. The sleeve photos which show various scenes of nature and what looks like dark storm clouds also seem to suggest secret associations. Pity then that the music on the disc (two tracks recorded live on the same day but in different locations) doesn't really live up to what the visuals promise.

The two live tracks are dominated by Carlson's guitar work, the first track "Dissolution III" being just Carlson and no-one else. Initially this is a repetitive piece and a bit choopy but as it goes along it starts to get a bit more interesting with something of a melody going up and down the fretboard like a frantic insect while the main drone riffs become more formless and drawn-out. The tonal textures are rough and gritty and add to the meltingly vague quality of the long piece. At about fourteen minutes in length this is an endurance test on the ears with all those raw guitar tones bleeding away relentlessly and the track can seem like a self-absorbed study in repetition and in drawing out riffs and tones to their utmost indefiniteness.

The title track has a definite riff motif that forms the backbone to this 58-minute opus: this backbone changes a great deal and gets submerged under long sandpaper drones but it's nearly always there. Adrienne Davies provides drumming support in a constant and unassuming way. A lot of the music can be pretty good driving riffy rhythms and Carlson and Davies make a good team who enjoy playing together in a steady business-like way. Davies mixes up her beats to add interest and keep up the pace and direction and Carlson shows off his repertoire of long droning guitar tricks, returning now and again to the main riff. Most of the time the track is on an even emotional keel and does not seem to strive for any kind of climax. The volume is always at much the same level throughout with no quiet pauses or sections where Carlson might feel like going berserk; even the parts where he starts scrabbling furiously and the guitar starts whistling come across as very sane. About two thirds of the way through Davies takes a well-earned break and leaves Carlson to start playing about with feedback effects on his drones but the drumless section doesn't sound any more remarkable than the rest of the track.

I know these are live recordings and while people may argue for keeping them whole so as to preserve the spirit and memory of them for the sake of posterity, there are some live recordings that would actually be better off with some editing here and there to bring together the best bits and junk out some of the less interesting and more inane parts to create a tighter piece of work that would still be true to the spirit in which it was made. Live recordings are a different experience for the person hearing them on a CD or other medium removed from the original context where the recording was made and musicians need to be aware that such a listener will have different expectations of the music from the person who goes to a live gig and who will get a more varied visual and sonic experience. With this particular live recording, the music doesn't appear to have much in the way of an aim or definite direction and especially in the title track it has a circular quality with the result that Carlson's guitar playing can come across as a bit self-indulgent.

Waste of Money. - 10%

caspian, March 2nd, 2006

Having heard the Sunn O)))'s fairly good white2 record, I decided to investigate a bit more into the genre of extreme doom. I was hoping to find the HEX album (which sounds fairly promising), but they didn't have it so I bought this instead. Oh well.

The first song on this album will probably be thought of as art by a lot of people, but in my opinion, it's fairly crap, and you'd be hard pressed to disagree. The 2nd guitar around the end of the song provides a bit of variation, but otherwise, it's the same, boring as hell thing.. 2 notes one semitone apart. Let's leave that progression for nu-metal bands huh? Basically, if you like this, you're lying. There
s nothing here for anyone.

The second song is an absolute marathon.. 58 minutes in length. It's not quite as horrible boring as the first song, because there's drums adding a few extra bits of dynamics.. well, maybe it is, because the first song is only a quarter of the length. WHile the first one was obviously drone doom though, this one is really quite strange, there's a bit of lead guitar floating around, and there's nothing down tuned on display. I guess the best description would be two retards (the drummer's ok..) trying to jam classic rock, but they're strumming the guitars with their penises or something. Regardless, it's fairly lame, and it goes on and on and on...and on and on.

So unless if you're a huge fan of these guys, there's nothing at all to recommend this, it doesnt have the interesting ambience and odd riffs that Sunn O))) have mastered, it's just two guitars and drums droning on and on, playing pointless and annoying riffs. Don't buy this. Big waste of money.