Tuesday, December 21, 2010
from Will Lindsay (Indian, Wolves in the Throne Room)
P.S. The Horseback album (The Invisible Mountain) would have been our 2010 list, but we already put it on our 2009 list since Utech released it first.
Locrian's "The Crystal World" starts out deep inside of the earth in an endless cave that seems like an abyss. Stalagmites twinkle just enough to create a partial circle of light, but beyond the radius of visibility, things slither and crawl on the walls and floor. Then you hear it. Somewhere deeper down in the cave is a monster, something that speaks, screams and wails in desperation and anger, something that you know will kill you if it finds you. It sounds closer and closer as the earth around you hums with increasing intensity. It's as if death is coming to meet you instead of waiting for you to stumble upon it. This is what it is to enter Locrian's "The Crystal World."
The Chicago trio of André Foisy, Terence Hannum and Steven Hess craft their nightmarish sound world out of remnants of krautrock, drone, post-rock and black metal creating their own unique brand of experimental terror. The album was inspired by J.G. Ballard's novel "The Crystal World," wherein the earth's vegetation succumbs to an apocalyptic crystallization. The world that Ballard creates sparkles even as it devastates, and Locrian have captured perfectly that quality of glimmering beauty amidst inevitable destruction.
The record follows a narrative arch with one song bleeding into the next to make for an audial journey into the heart of darkness. The impending doom that informs opener "Triumph of Elimination" quietly pervades "At Night's End," which follows. The track eventually explodes with pounding percussion, epic guitar squalls and a voice that has turned from hateful to haunted. One can imagine anguished flight from the terror in the darkness as the song plays out. The band ups the ante on the phenomenal title track which mixes minimalist repeating guitar patterns against varying drones of ascending madness and doom while Hess' drums stumble around the piece like a battered and exhausted victim of unfathomable horrors.
"Pathogens" begins the record's second half with drones that resemble distant emergency sirens, rising and falling in intensity. Inevitably the horror creeps back into the immediate as squelching electronics and guitar approach closer and closer to the foreground until they eventually overtake it along with with Hess' rattling tom beats.
With "Obsidian Facades" that desperate hate-filled voice returns, screaming out from the depths. A steady dark guitar drone underlies the piece, while haunted atmospherics swirl over the surface calling to mind Paysage d'Hiver's "Kerker," Sunn 0)))'s "Black One" and Nortt to some degree. The track ends with a shimmering guitar refrain reminiscent of Labradford that offers a tiny fragment of hope. "Elevations and Depths" brings the album to a close in a manner that is powerful, beautiful and deeply moving, even as it snuffs out that tiny fragment of hope. Acoustic guitars and harmoniums mix with all of the elements the band have mined thus far to make for an intense swelling finale that is tragic in tone. The horror wins at the end of "The Crystal World," but not without a good fight, making the denouement that much more heartbreaking.
The effect of "Elevations" belies the grimness of "The Crystal World," and exposes a deeper humanity that runs throughout the record. There is warm beating heart at the center of the album that elevates it far beyond simple atmospheric dark ambient or doom, and makes for a deeply effecting musical experience. As I shape up my "best of" list for 2010, Locrian's "The Crystal World" looks to be a shoe-in for both its unique musical vision, and it's gut-wrenching emotionality. Highly recommended.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
A Collaborative Zine and CDR from Terence Hannum and Thomas Martin Ekelund
Edition of 100 | 7" × 7" | 24 pages
Black and White color xerox printing
w/ audio CDR in black xerox on black envelope
Inside of letter-pressed 7" Arigato Pack
"The Infinite Light, A Living Silence, Whose Name Cannot be Uttered."
Completing artist and musician Terence Hannum's year long monthly zine project, Heresies, brings Swedish musician and designer Thomas Martin Ekelund into the fold. The twelfth and final zine in Hannum's series functions much like a call and response on the fringes of some mystic quest culling content from Gnostic heretics to further interrogate the void where Ekelund would design a mystical sigil and Hannum would respond with an invocation in gouache.
Both accomplished musicians, Ekelund with his now defunct project Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words and Hannum with his solo work and contributions to Locrian contributed to the audio CDR. And the audio content is immense. An over thirty-four minute massive drone work out that does not fear melody or haunting ambience. "Heresies" was also built on a back and forth between Hannum and Ekelund with Ekelund on Guitar, Bass, Piano, Organ, iPhone and Field Recordings and Hannum providing layers of vocal chants, singing and profanations.
Heresies the zine and CDR also comes packaged in a deluxe fold-over 7" square letter-pressed Stumptown Arigato pack made of thick (18pt.) brown 100% PCW recycled chipboard featuring a work from both of the artists on letter-pressed onto its two sides. Letterpressed by Dexterity Press and hand assembled.
$20ppd US/ $25ppd World orders - PayPal
Europe/World - firstname.lastname@example.org
Thomas Martin Ekelund
Heresies (edit) by TerenceHannum
Brooklyn Vegan: the year 2010 in metal (BBG's favorite records & live shows)
All Music Guide's Favorite Metal Albums of 2010
and Jenks Miller's section of "The Best Metal Albums of 2010" as listed in Metalsucks.com
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Having groped their way fantastically into their/our demo-less Teens, Locrian enter maturity with 'The Crystal World'. Coming off the stunning display of vision on 'Territories', the pair of Hannum and Foisy now recruit collaborator Steven Hess of On to formalize a style of doom all their own, breaking sharply from the occultism (Sunn, Sleep) and rockness (Thrones, Boris) of the reigning sound to generate a musical cosmology with science-fictitious detail. A truly "high definition" release, the painstaking editing here casts such a depth as to often swallow with shadow the harmonic structures which equally break all precedence for the band. Extended intro "Triumph of Elimination" seethes with heating currents and a variety of buzzing statics; clattering like a shrapnel wind-chime, little ornaments trickle high as the ear strains to make out the approaching barrage of a droning horn, a pure wrath prophesied in shredded, Eric Wood bellows. With less than a beat of breath, "At Night's End" begins with a chant of indeterminate benevolence, the trickle now closer and the circuitry cool. It's halfway through, or nearly 10 minutes into the album that we're reminded of the guitar-derived leads which made 'Territories' such a statement. Yet this guitared sound is on it's way out, even when it arrives, as the doom sludge is always peeling upward, elevating the track, and ultimately giving way to the modular loops of John Carpenter horror ballad and title track "The Crystal World" (suitably sourced to a JG Ballard story). Guitar is almost an afterthought on "Pathogens", where Hess' percussion confirms a central, dominant position within the granular portrait: not ambient but rendered as ambiance, the image is spacious and less-figurative, but it's meant to be looked at (hard). As if to reclaim their authority over the work, "Obsidian Facades" offers just such a glassy finish of human breaths and breathy frequencies of shredded, fuzzy guitar, in the end breaking only as a reference into the theatrics of ISIS or Cave-in as a segue into the simply-massive conclusion "Elevations and Depths", a sort of 'Brief History of' Metal since 1997. Not an album to be taken for granted, 'The Crystal World' is a rich, rewarding listen and a worthy sequel to the wonder that has become Locrian. CD version also includes a second disc with the 54-minute "Extinction", in case all that bleak didn't convince you. Pro-pressed discs snugged into a heavy gatefold sleeve with stunning art by Vberkvlt. Recommended, inevitably. (Utech 2CD, $17 HERE)
Friday, December 10, 2010
Land of Decay 012 (Sun Splitter 'II") Release Show, January 7th, 2011/Sun Splitter Live at the Mopery or Check Out All of the SAIC Students Mosh
On Friday, January 7th, 2011, we'll have the next Land of Decay release out from one of our favorite groups around today: Sun Splitter. Mark this on your calendar. The next batch of tapes will be an edition of 100 copies and they are sure to go fast. We'll have more information on that release soon. Here are the details for the show:
3855 N. Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60613
TIME: 9:00 PM
There are three vidoes of them performing at the last show at the Mopery in Chicago. For those of you who don't live in Chicago, the Mopery was the most disgusting and awesome places to see a show and Sun Splitter killed it at this one. Other performers from the night killed it too (like Mark Solotroff and Ono), but Sun Splitter was the only group who played that had a mosh pit. There were probably over 300 people at this show which just riled up all of the filth in the loft space. If you look at the videos closely, you can actually see the Mopery-dirtscum in the air.
So get excited since the next Land of Decay tape is great. If you don't know who Sun Splitter are then you will very soon.
It’s impossible to attach a label to what Locrian have accomplished on The Crystal World, but it’s dangerously close to that elusive, perfect balance between hostile dark ambient textures and more focused and emotive metal structures. With elements from metal, ambient, drone, and noise, Locrian’s soundscapes are supremely evocative and almost soundtrack-like, like if you took Negura Bunget at their most symphonic and extended that creativity and atmosphere over an entire album, or if you took Xela’s Dead Sea and made it about 100 times darker. The Crystal World is menacing, harsh, and utterly terrifying at times, but strangely soothing and peaceful at others.
Indeed, the visceral effectiveness of The Crystal World owes as much to Locrian’s use of dynamics, contrast and song structure as it does to the the album’s frightening sonic tapestries and lurking electronics. The opening pair of songs basically amount to one massive build, with the sparse, unsettling crawl of ‘Triumph of Elimination’ giving way to the dirge-like reverence of the closing moments of ‘At Night’s End.’ The opening of ‘Obsidian Facades,’ consisting of desperate, echoing screams which evoke a 28 Days Later-like vision of utter fear and helplessness, owes much of its horrifying impact on the listener to the contrast with the subtle dynamics of the rest of the album and the softening final minutes of the song.
Elsewhere on The Crystal World, Locrian treat the listener to some sonic experimentation while still managing to maintain the dark, tense atmosphere that pervades the album. ‘Pathogens’ features a storm of nearly improvisational percussion over spacey guitar feedback, while the wailing guitars on the title track are used almost as a vocal replacement, giving an emotive edge to the backdrop of quietly mysterious keyboards and ambient distortion.
While it feels like a stretch to classify Locrian’s sound as metal, especially since The Crystal World is mostly devoid of anything resembling a power chord, it still manages to capture the genre’s aggression, its harshness, and Locrian’s music taps into the listener’s primal, subconscious mind in a similar way. The difference is that Locrian does not limit their sonic palette to fit into any particular genre or specific sound, and the result is that this music often penetrates much deeper, taking the listener to places they never thought possible.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Amazing videos by:
Scott Cummings: "Obsidian Facades"
Sterling Crispin: "Extinction" (Excerpt)
Colin Leipelt: "Triumph of Elimination"
Raymond Salvatore Harmone: "At Night's End"
Nicholas O'Brien: "Pathogens" (Edit)
Thanks to our friend Demian for the great review of the DLSODW tape!
Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words
Land of Decay
Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words was brand new to me when I heard this cassette. Turns out the project is not new and the tape has been out for awhile as well. I gotta say that it's pretty damn good. Beautiful and building drones swirl and merge in a large empty room. Structured compositions with a more than just your typical melancholy feel really effect you on a deeply troubled level. I was surprised as I was expecting something a bit more grim from Land of Decay; home to Chicago doom-bringers, Locrian. If you read up on the human being behind DLSODW, Thomas Ekelund, you will read some pretty over the top stuff about his being crazy and needing to make this kind of music to keep him from eating kids or something but, to be honest, i hear it. An almost palpable amount of desperation and fear is present throughout this release. The descriptions you may read on his facebook page may sound as if David Tibet wrote them while doing a David Tibet impression but i would totally give this a listen. It's pretty spectacular, I just hope you aren't allergic to hyperbole.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Century Plants / Locrian, “Dissolvers” split LP+CDr
December 2, 2010
By Dave Miller
Century Plants are the duo of Ray Hare and Eric Hardiman (who also runs the Tape Drift label). They’ve been on the scene for a few years now with some very nice releases. However, they dropped their CDrs and sidestepped their tape formats to put out their first-ever vinyl. And, I’m sure glad they did! First, with “Fading Out,” the moody atmosphere of the glacial slowburner crawls onto the scene. Then, as it gains more ground, scratchy effects are left in its wake. Then a hovering quality almost knocks the legs out from under this track and elevates it so that it doesn’t just approach you but lingers overhead. Second, “Delirium” is much more chord-concentrated, opening up into a spiritual journey. The repeated chords with echoed effects kind of dance around. I can just imagine some light reflecting off of a slow, small stream of water in a cave darting around on its walls. A great couple of tracks. I think these might be some of Century Plants’ best work yet.
Locrian has become a familiar friend to many of us over the last five years as well. They are the trio of A. Foisy, T. Hannum, and J. Lemos out of Chicago. Known to walk the darker side of drone, they don’t disappoint on “Dissolvers.” Their first track, “On a Calcified Shore,” is looped with a guitar whine and other sporadic effects. That whine is pretty cool though, almost like some alarm that’s gone out of order. The second track, “Omega Vapors,” has a very bass-driven undercurrent. Higher-pitched guitar reverb is dripped over top like a Pollock to his canvas. Cascades of these notes flit about, only to end on a more dour, beastly low toward the end. Another great side!
I’m not sure why, probably the name, “Dissolvers,” but this LP has opened my eyes to what’s going on in much of experimental music today. I think—and maybe you have a different take—that I approach each release from an artist as a discovery as to what they have created out of their ideas, accidents, and equipment. Like erecting some kind of soundscape sculpture. But, this LP has helped me to not think of this wide genre as something forward-acting, something building, something making. Rather, I think of this as not so much a creative service to music but a complete destructive disservice to music. This is a total deconstructive act to audio enjoyment. It is a disassembling of what we have always traditionally understood music to be. The elements and principles of music are picked apart, dismembered, dissected so that we can see why those things matter and what these things are on their own. It’s completely violent. In drone’s case, you pretty much reduce everything down to the most basic building block of music: the vibration. Vibrations are what we hear, they are the sounds that soothe and attack. And instruments are handy, easily manipulative means through which we can create such vibrations. When these sounds are assembled just right and connected as though they belong together they become musical. But, if all music is is a sound then who cares how they are made or what makes them? So, after our musical edifice has been razed, why not build again with the broken rubble before the dust has even settled? And that is the deal behind this stuff. This isn’t good or bad. It just is. It’s a result of our times and a product of the avant-garde. No matter how you look at it, however, I’m very glad that it happened. I have been able to see through a new prescription how marvelous a world of sound can be. I have felt a greater range of emotions and felt more connected with what’s deep down in me than ever before through experimental music.
Well, not only the talent on this record, nor just the insightful realizations it has invoked, but even the gorgeous packaging on this one make this well worth the money. It comes in a gorgeous black sleeve with silver ink. Minimalistic fonts and a nice, solid pic of a building (?) adorn the cover. The back continues the same font and its use, with another squared and centered pic, this time of a tree. It also comes with a heavy cardstock insert with a nice printed photo and band information on either side of it for each artist. The beautiful cherry on top is that it also comes with a killer CDr with a remix of each track on the album. What a nice extra, huh! I almost think it’s worth it just for that. Having such a perfect package I think Tape Drift should change its name and deal more with records. If they ever do come out with another vinyl release I will be expecting great things since the bar has been set so high. Don’t miss this piece of Tape Drift history! Limited to 300.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Simply put, it's ambience. Pure ambience. Sheer electronic, drone-y soundscapes that take a helluva lot of patience to dilvulge. But twenty minute long compositions of not alot that subtley flicker and coerce aren't everybody's cup of tea now, are they? If they are, keeping. "Red Nurse - Vigilante! - White Nurse" is best described as stargazing, both in sound and in scope; there's less going in "Sisters, Impure Pillars Before The Sea" leading it to feel more 'hollow', and in turn, darker. It gradually starts to build, adding more, and giving the impression of waves gently crashing.
The production is utterly flawless, which helps "Male Fantasies" to no end. If you allow it time to absorb you, you'll be rewarded with the little nuances that Jendon applies underneath the warm, soothing electronic buzz. It's the little things, that could easily be noises found in nature or occurances from your average day - though I suspect they are entirely synthetic - that are ultimately the difference between a rewarding listen and a pointless one. 
Download: Red Nurse - Vigilante! - Whie Nurse
For The Fans of: Ambient, Drone music
Release Date April 2010
Land Of Decay
Brett gave this 5/5.
I’m loving the feel of this fucker – lovely thick gatefold sleeves like this are almost enough to break the twelve-inch fetish of a vinyl hound. I’m also loving that this is named after (and the amazing artwork seemingly inspired by) the early JG Ballard book. The first disc here paints the picture of that titular crystal world assimilating everything in sight via doomy dark ambience, black metal soundscapes, heavy industrial drone and frequent electronic supplementation. It’s a seriously bleak scene in a lot of ways, but there’s definitely more than a touch of beauty to be found in it, particularly in ‘Elevations’ which ends the disc. The second half of this opus is taken up by just the one fifty-three minute track which goes by the name of ‘Extinction’ and can probably best be summed up by some combination of the phrase ‘more please’ with the words ‘whoa’, ‘drone’, ‘fuck’, ‘ouch’, ‘devastating’, ‘noise’ and ‘holy’. Probably with some other words between the! m. Singular and stunning – they’ve totally created a world here!
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
We'll have copies at our show on Monday.
century plants / locrian - DissolversBeautiful silver leaf screen-printed sleeves - a strictly limited vinyl run from Tape Drift* Tape Drifts impressively move into the vinyl realm with a sublime split LP of bleak drone treatments from Chicago's Locrian and the terrifically titled Century Plants of Albany, upstate New York. Firstly, the presentation is about pitch-perfect; black label vinyl housed in silver leaf ink screen-printed sleeve and a special double-sided colour insert - just to whet your appetite. Century Plants commandeer the A-side, stoking the very slow burn of 'Fading Out', evolving from near-inaudible, ominous, spectral figures, fleshed out with spidery webs of autonomic guitar picking and deeply unsettling psych-drone shapes looming from the aether. 'Delirium' is the after effect, eyes slowly rolling in the back of the head while sparse, wintry-tanged ambience gives way to O'Malley-esque feedback manipulation and harmonised subbass. Passing the tourniquet to Locrian, we're soon subsumed by the psychoactive 'On A Calcified Shore', glass-scraped feedback swirling into ghoulish apparitions and sustained underlying drones stretching out into an inky black void, while 'Omega Vapors' intoxicates the senses with billowing clouds of feedback noise and quietly agitated strings make the skin crawl and prickle. Gorgeous music - limited copies only.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
You can read Audiodrome.it's review of "The Crystal World" here.
The Empty Bottle
1035 N. Western Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60622
Anatomy of Habit
+ Locrian's "The Crystal World" video presentation
LOCRIAN - TERRITORIES (CD by Bloodlust!)
Somewhere else we look into a solo CD of Andre Foisy but here is a CD by his band Locrian, a duo of himself and T. Hannum. They played guitars and electronics. Seeing this release on Bloodlust! its hardly a surprise that it contains noise. A slow menacing sound of pounding drums, piercing electronics (derived from guitar playing? I am not sure here) and more loud guitars. That is the opening track 'Inverted Ruins', which includes Mark Solotroff, head honcho of Bloodlust, on vocals but Locrian has more to offer than just that. Each track seems to be recorded with the help of other people, so that's why things are probably more varied, beyond the boundaries of pure noise. 'Between Barrows', the second piece on the CD, is a much more subdued piece of music, carefully improvised. Although Locrian don't return to the careful style in this album again, its not said that every piece is one of loud noise only. The closing statement, 'The Columnless Arcade' is a finely driven motor like rock song, bursting out half way through, full of energy. 'Ring Road' sees the burning of a guitar (metaphorically speaking of course), like a giant dark beast bursting out, while 'Antediluvian Territory' is an almost ambient like guitar tune. The epic 'Procession Of Ancestral Brutalism' is then the noise centre of this album. Locrian delivered a great album with this CD. Here too we are dealing with the notion of noise that is varied, like we have discussed more recently: not that endless walls of feedback and distortion, but a varied bunch of pieces, some of which happen to be very loud and some not. But Locrian does all of that outside the world of pure electronics and that is a great achievement. An excellent CD! (FdW)
VW also reviews the new André Foisy 3" CDR as well as the new releases from Small Doses. Nice!
André Foisy - THEORY OF PROGRESS (3"CDR on Small Doses)
Andre Foisy is one half of Locrian, a more noise oriented band, but here the true ambient music comes out. Foisy plays guitar and adds a bit of electronics. The music is very mellow and relaxed. Foisy uses e-bow or other bows to play his guitar, adds a substantial dose of reverb to create a great textured sound, but keeps the effects within a fair, controlled state. Over the course of the piece things are build up, but not extensively and never in a hurry. A delicate and refined release. (FdW)
Monday, November 22, 2010
I’ve been pretty jaded/burned out from new underground music lately, and it seems like pretty much everyone else is too. Been talking to people about the negative creativity spawned by fame, as it seems like any underground musician who gets recognized lately and is thrust into blogger superstardom immediately stops growing as an artist and just churns out more and more of the same half-assed tropical/beach-pop/hypnogogic pop/shit-wave/cold-wave/chill-wave/whatever other stupid ghettoized genre music. Never been too interested in genres myself, as I’ve always felt like genrefication takes away from the music; Once it’s been stuck in a niche you have things that are expected of you and expectations of what you should sound like. And unfortunately it seems like lots of folks these days are more than happy to please the expectations of bloggers and other folks that don’t know anything about music.
Luckily none of this has anything to do with the new Locrian album “The Crystal World” on Utech. Having already neatly smashed out the walls of death metal, noise & power electronics on their previous albums, they wisely decide to keep smashing outward and take over whatever spectrums of music they end up in. Now a three piece, Locrian branch out into heavy psychedelic stoner rock (“At Night’s End”), kosmische synth jams (the instrumental title track), and strange as it may seem, psychedelic folk (“Elevation and Depths” towards the end sounds disturbingly like one of Bröselmachine’s better songs), with all 6 feet still formly rooted in the darkness and anguished screaming we know so well. Locrian’s music always has an unsettling presence lurking in the background, slowly spreading post-industrial pagan gloom over everything they touch, much like the Ballard novel the album is named after, and “The Crystal World” shows them seeping into new avenues of music and making them their own.
This is definitely the most musical thing I’ve heard from them yet, a nice change of pace in an era that doesn’t place much value on well-crafted music. Each track is a carefully-sculpted journey through Locrian’s signature sound that slowly unfolds to find something completly new hiding inside. It took me forever to review their last album, mostly because every review of it I saw was gushing praise out of every pore, and this one will probably get the same; but since they seem pretty immune to it so far I’ll go ahead and say that Locrian has once again raised the bar for themselves and suceeded in creating another incredible album that stays true to their aesthetic while still challenging themselves to make something different.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
"How bleak is it? None more bleak, my friend...Essential listening.": The One True Dead Angel on "The Crystal World"
Locrian -- THE CRYSTAL WORLD [Utech Records]
Chicago's favorite audio-terror duo are back with an extra partner in sonic crime (Steven Hess of On, Pan American, and Ural Umbo, handling percussion and electronics) and a wildly ambitious double-album inspired by the 1964 J. G. Ballard classic of the same name. This time around their dense, dark, apocalyptic sound is informed as much by prog rock as black metal and noise, and their increasingly exacting approach to songwriting and the meticulous layering of sounds makes this album a significant step forward. The opening track, "Triumph of Elimination," is essentially a link back to their previous album, opening with an ominous synth drone and creeped-out electronic whining that spirals upwards in frequency until the hellish vocals arrive -- but there's a lot more happening in the background, including tinking bells and primitive rumbling sounds. along with nearly subliminal bursts of screechy electronics and more audible sounds of sonic distress before the track ends in a brief flurry of percussion. The considerably more spare "At Night's End" is dominated by spooky synth drones and wailing peals of feedback that rise and fall; as the track progresses, the synth drone grows even darker as processed sounds warble and bleat in cryptic fashion. Then slow-motion drums kick in and eerie, disembodied vocals take the track in another direction, one that's as hypnotic and strangely beautiful as it is ominous. Things take a turn for the unexpected in the title track, where a percolating synth line rises from the noise fog and is eventually joined by some extremely devolved percussion and gothic keyboard washes. The evil bass hum of "Pathogens" -- along with some extremely spaced-out cyclotron moves -- moves the sound back into more familiar territory, especially when the wind-tunnel noises appear, along with muted percussion akin to someone trying to break his way out of a buried coffin. Eventually the percussion turns into actual drumming, accompanied by morbid drone and noise, in which Hess plays one convoluted pattern with minimal changes for quite a while, in a cruel act of minimalist torture, one that continues long after the background sounds have faded out of existence. The next track, "Obsidian Facades," wastes no time getting underway, opening with bone-chilling shrieking and dissonant, crashing chords from a distorted keyboard before settling into a cold and frigid soundscape heavy on the reverb and swaddled in layers of fuzz and drone. As the track goes on, a gorgeous piano melody enters the equation; by the time the track finishes, it is the sole sound. It is followed immediately by baroque acoustic strumming as "Elevations and Depths" kicks off, a song also enriched by Gretchen Koehler's violin when the percussion and synth drones eventually arrive.
The second disc is one track, "Extinction," that lasts nearly an hour and encompasses a wide variety of sounds. Structurally speaking, it unfolds in movements dominated by different uses of sound and texture, and varying levels of intensity in both dynamics and the number of layered sounds. At times it's sparse and bleak, with just one drone or electronic sound happening; at other times it's a thick, soupy fog of harsh sounds and paralyzing drones. The movements flow from one to the next in seamless fashion, and while it definitely takes a certain level of patience to sit through a track this long, the steadily shifting dynamics and textures keep things moving in a brisk fashion. At times they revert back to thunderous walls of black, shrieking noise, with passages far harsher than anything on the first disc. There are also proggy moments, as with the first disc, but the vast bulk of what's here is more focused on grim electronic frippery, cold wailing feedback, and drones of the darkest kind. The sound itself is consistently dark and chilling, regardless of what's going on at any given moment; this is the sound of urban decay in a concrete jungle where the skyscrapers blot out the sun and the wretched refuse of humanity squats in abandoned buildings. How bleak is it? None more bleak, my friend. Bonus points for the packaging (a gatefold digipak resembling a miniature LP sleeve) and the grotesque artwork by Vberkvlt. Essential listening. Note that a vinyl edition is forthcoming sometime next year.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Year Released: 2010
Label: Basses Frequences - At War With False Noise - Bloodlust! - Small Doses
Reviewed by Alex Deller
Locrian is a world of hate, hell and endless misery. Dark, forbidding dronescapes cloud the senses. Minor-key Pentastar descensions chart a course deep into the abyss. Gurgled oaths and directionless, mind-searing static interference ensure that paranoia becomes a customary state of being while occasional blasts of raw, blackened metal and blood-curdling shrieks are almost a relief when they arrive, providing cold, jagged firmament upon which to cling. As unsettling as it is engrossing, "Territories" is a chilling journey into the all-consuming void and one that fans of Nekrasov, The Human Quena Orchestra and Gnaw Their Tongues will doubtless be keen to immerse themselves in.
Recommended record by Collective Zine!
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Eleventh zine in this monthly series, printed specifically for Western Exhibitions / Western Xeditions booth at the Editions | Artists’ Book Fair ’10 in New York City in November 2010.
For the most part LEADLIGHT is a study of sacred windows, inverted, cut, chopped and reintegrated by ancient ritual instruments, X-acto, scissor, tape and Xerox. The spaces are transformed, profaned, desecrated, elevated and abolished. Forms repeat, echo and collide in the black & white Xeroxes. Framing this amalgamation are cropped Xeroxes on black paper pulled from Terence Hannum’s drawings. Normally these holy windows are above shrines of amplifiers or headbanging sentinels, yet here they are removed and presented away to enhance the solemnity of these decorations and portals.
Black & white Xerox on white paper w/ black trifold cover w/ black Xerox printing in vellum printed obi strip
30 pages, Edition of 40
8.5” x 5.5” with trifold cover at 8.5” x 17”
$10ppd (US) / Contact for rates outside US
PAYPAL: landofdecay (at) gmail.com
by Eduardo Rivadavia
Locrian is an experimental project founded in 2005 by Chicago, IL-based academics André Foisy (electric, 12-string, and acoustic guitars, bass, tape loops, plus a lot of effects pedals) and Terence Hannum (synthesizers, vocals, tape loops), who began collaborating in extremely piecemeal fashion -- almost song by song, at times -- so that their early discography grew to contain over a dozen official and unofficial bite-sized works, issued in limited numbers and multiple formats. Along the way, the pair was abruptly tasked with conjuring up a name after accepting an offer to perform their first live gig, so the self-confessed music theory nerd Foisy suggested Locrian, inspired by an exotic musical scale once banned by the Catholic church for being "evil" (as well as an even more obscure tribe of ancient Greeks). And, in due time, Locrian's rather scattered creative methods coalesced into more manageable album-sized portions -- namely 2009's Drenched Lands, 2010's Territories, and 2011's The Crystal World -- without relinquishing the right to mix and match musical styles (black metal, noise rock, industrial music, drone, etc.) as they pleased. As of the latter release, Locrian's lineup (always filled with guest musicians recruited from the Chicago area) was expanded with the confirmation of full-time percussionist Steven Hess.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Dobre tytuły: wszystkie
Amerykański duet z Chicago powraca. Po wydaniu wspaniałego albumu „Territories” zawierającego gwiazdy Chicagowskiej sceny, kiedyś duet (teraz trio) wydało album pod nazwą „The Crystal World”. Album jak zwykle szokujący klimatem i napawający dziwnymi uczuciami.
Nowa twarz w LOCRIAN, którą jest Steven Hess rozbudował muzykę do jeszcze bardziej niespokojnego brzmienia, tym razem jeszcze bardziej wzmocnionego poprzez perkusję i dodatkową elektronikę.
„The Crystal World” prezentuje nową jakość muzyki LOCRIAN. Całkowicie odświeżona z dodatkiem perkusji, tym razem dla większości sceptycznych słuchaczy melodia również jest bardziej słyszalna jeśliby to nazwać melodią, a nie mantrą... To można rozumieć już zależnie od punktu widzenia. Jendi mogą zrozumieć nową płytę LOCRIAN jako eksperyment instrumentalny, a inni jako podróż do ciemnej strony własnego umysłu akompaniowanej dźwiękami LOCRIAN.
Jak już wspomniałem nowością na tej płycie jest dodatek perkusji i dodatkowej elektroniki. Pojawiają się w kawałkach nikłe bito-podobne dźwięki, perkusja natomiast nadaje całej muzyce potężne i jeszcze bardziej mroczne niż dotychczas brzmienie. Być może dlatego też, że chłopaki z Chicago w każdym albumie wrzucają coś nowego, ani zespół ani płyta nie powodują nudy pomimo tego co grają. Dla porównania warto wspomnieć, że dużo bardziej „skocznych” zespołów ostatnimi czasy przyprawia mnie o ziewanie.
Nie ma sensu wymieniać i opisywać kawałek po kawałku. Po pierwsze dlatego, że każdy jest świetny i nie ma do nich żadnego porównania. Po drugie ich nie da się opisać, trzeba je po prostu przesłuchać. Za każdym razem słuchając tego samego utworu można zauważyć coś nowego oraz można mieć inne wzbudzenie emocji zależnie od tego w jakmi stanie się aktualnie znajdujemy słuchając. Muzyka ta pomimo tego, że jest mroczna, czasem senstymentalna, chora i psychodeliczna, wierzcie mi lub nie, pasuje do każdego nastroju. W ciągu dnia może uspokoić, odciągnąć od zgiełku. W nocy może wzbudzać strach, przywołać sentymentalne wspomnienia lub podświadomie zmusić do refleksji. Na tym albumie pojawiają się nawet wokale brzmiące jakby przepełnione bólem. Gościnnie znajdują tu się również partie na skrzypcach oraz kobiecy głos.
„The Crystal World” to koncept bazowany na powiści JG Ballard’a z 1964 roku opowiadająca o fizyku, który wyrusza wgłąb afrykańskiej dżungli odkryć jej zagadkę, według której dżungla ta powoli zaczyna się krystalizować. Album ma się oficjalnie ukazać 27 listopada w dwupłytowej postaci. Pierwsza płyta to sześć utworów, o której jest recenzja, natomiast druga, która jeszcze jest zagadką dla ucha ma zawierać jeden prawie godzinny utwór „Extinction”. Według LOCRIAN ten kawałek ma być podsumowaniem całego albumu. Nie wątpie, że taki będzie. „The Crystal World” jest wspaniała, lecz trudna do opisania w całości oraz detalami. Dlatego jak wspominałem, co również polecam – należy przesłuchać utwory z tego albumu, żeby zrozumieć o jakiej wspaniałości jest mowa.
You can also listen an audio interview with Locrian here.
Every once in a while we get a release that makes us listen to it more than normal since it’s so complex and different that we can’t really craft a solid opinion about it with only 3-4 spins. This month we have Locrian’s third full-length album “The Crystal World”, the band plays a very experimental mixture of ambient, drone, and some Black Metal and Post-Rock elements. This might sound like a handful, but it actually works very well for the flow of this release.
“The Crystal World” is a very powerful emotional ride that spreads through 6 tracks. With the first track “Triumph of Elimination”, the band immediately sets the stage for this dark and minimalistic journey. In the traditional fashion of creating expectation, this track starts building up with samples and drones that seem to be gaining momentum but they also seem to never culminate. The ‘culmination’ section for us that need it, comes in the next track “At Night’s End”.
In this second track the band halfway through the track reaches a more climactic point and you can actually hear some Post-Rock passages that greatly enhance the listening experience and add more ingredients to this very experimental (and effective) combination of elements of different genres.
The whole album pretty much follows the same ideas but Locrian actually manages to keep each ‘iteration’ fresh by adding different elements including: Black Metal shrieks, violins, female vocals, and countless samples that greatly enhance this great album. At some points the music gets somewhat Ethno and ritualistic (i.e. “Pathogens”) and could get a bit tiresome for some people, but ambient/drone freaks will surely rejoice in this interesting sections.
Overall, we think that Locrian has managed to release a very effective album. The band has managed to fuse many different elements and styles together in a very cohesive manner creating a truly haunting listening experience. Be warned that “The Crystal World” is a release that needs more than a few listens to be fully understood and enjoyed, but once you are over the ‘learning curve’ the ride is very enjoyable.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Chicago's Locrian spent the second half of the ‘00s making bite-sized sonic experiments (almost two-dozen mini releases) before committing their eclectic mixture of black metal, electronics, drone, and noise rock to a full-length format for 2009's Drenched Lands and the following year's eye-opening sophomore album, Territories. Opening statement "Inverted Ruins" sets the stage (or burns it to the ground, rather) with a snail-paced post-metal grind shrouded in decayed industrial textures à la Neurosis, and capped by eardrum-rupturing feedback screeches that may have some listeners convinced their CD is defective (the same is true for the epic dronefest "Ring Road"). But no, this is quite intentional on the band's part and but one jarring facet of their discomfiting musical strategy, which also entails a thrumming, Eno-esque meditation awash with cymbal crashes and processed saxophone waves ("Between Barrows"); a modern black metal showstopper of formidable violence and layered complexity ("Procession of Ancestral Brutality"); an Isis-like collection of improbably beautiful echoed melodies and swarming atmospherics ("Antediluvian Territory"); and a hypnotizing combination of densely interwoven evil drones reminiscent of Sunn 0)))'s Black One opus ("The Columnless Arcade"). It should also be noted that Locrian's central duo of André Foisy and Steven Hess invited numerous outsiders to guest on the album, including Nachtmystium's Blake Judd, Bloodyminded's Mark Solotroff, Yakuza's Bruce Lamont, and Velnias' Andrew Scherer, and its obvious that their pooled talents and distinct visions contributed significantly to Territories' oftentimes unique, if at times perplexingly diverse material. There's never a dull moment here, that's for sure.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
The Crystal World
This newly expanded trio is utterly devastating over the 90 minutes of this two-CD set. Dark, ambient psych and harsh noise merge perfectly with black metal vocals on opening track “Triumph of Elimination,” before the barrage settles in. The six songs on the first CD would’ve been payoff enough but when the second CD opens with the throbbing drones of the monolithic, perfectly paced, hour-long “Extinction,” Locrian brazenly announce they are the new kings of heavy, heavy psych. This trip is for real. 9/10 Trial Track: “Extinction” (Johnson Cummins)
NOW ON CD!!
With every single release these guys get better and better, their sound, a constantly evolving, ultra dense blend of abstract black metal and deep ambient dronemusic, the early records were more about energy and vibe than execution, still eminently listenable, heavy and atmospheric, black and brutal, but their skills as composers and arranges have definitely made leaps and bounds, arriving finally at Territories, the latest sprawling epic from this Chicago duo, here, aided and abetted by a whole bunch of guests, including Blake Judd from Nachtmystium, Andrew Scherer, drummer for black metallers Velnias, and Mark Solotroff, power electronics maestro, and man behind Bloody Minded and the BloodLust! label.
And the guests make their presence felt right away, on opener inverted ruins, a smoldering doomic plod, more power electronics than black metal, with Solotroff ranting over a sea of swirling buzz and skree, glitched out electronics, and some simple stripped down drumming. Over the course of the track, it begins to coalesce into a more ominous creep, shedding noise as it goes, before finally slipping into a deep shimmering drone, which introduces the next track, a lush, slow building cinematic dronescape, constantly shifting layers, drifting through clouds of cymbal shimmer and blackened buzzing strings. It's not until nearly the end of side one that black metal rears its ugly head, a flurry of manic riffing, and they're off, a pounding midtempo blast of raw feral blackness, insane shrieked vocals, chaotic drums, muted riffs, all blurred into a blackened haze, lo-fi and muddy, but also epic and intense.
The flipside opens with another bout of power electronics, dueling synths unfurl undulating layers of wheeze and warble and buzz, laced with shimmering overtones and fragmented melodies, a churning black sonic sea, that eventually fades out leaving, a smoldering stretch of shadowy guitar, of blissed out ambience, a short stretch of crystalline chiming guitars laid over a warm whir, shoegazey and blissed out, which finally leads into the closing track, the weirdest of the bunch, with organ and saxophone, acoustic guitars, and pretty much all the gusts present and accounted for, a bleak buzzing driftscape, sort of post industrial, keening melodies over fractured buzz, and deep rumbles, creaks and skree and groaning low end, finally explode into full on melodic black metal, martial drumming, epic riffing, more tortured vokills, cool tangled woozy minor key melodies, a swirling druggy ambience, weirdly catchy and otherworldly, but still heavy and psychedelic, maybe our favorite track, and the perfect way to wind down this serpentine blackened outsider drone metal journey...
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
You can pre-order "The Crystal World" at Utech Records now!
Available until NOVEMBER 23 at which time all pre-orders will ship.
A limited edition poster will be included with The Crystal World while supplies last.
Title: The Crystal World
Format: 2XCDaaEdition: 1000
Length: 102'aaTrx: 7
Catalogue Number: URCD056/057
Released: November 27, 2010
Recorded: Recorded by Dave Whitcomb, Chicago IL, 2010.
André Foisy, Terence Hannum, Steven Hess.
Gretchen Roehler violin on 6. Erica Burgner vocals on 2 and 6.
1.Triumph of Elimination Audio
2.At Night's End
3.The Crystal World
5.Obsidian Facades Audio
6.Elevations And Depths
1.Extinction Audio I--Audio II
A marked change had come over the forest, as if dusk had begun to fall. Everywhere the glacé sheaths which enveloped the trees and vegetation had become duller and more opaque. The crystal floor underfoot was occluded and gray, turning the needles into spurs of basalt. The brilliant panoply of colored light had gone, and a dim amber glow moved across the trees, shadowing the sequined floor. At the same time it had become considerably colder.
The Crystal World, the third studio album from Locrian, is an epic journey. Titled after JG Ballard’s 1964 novel that tells the story of a physician who specializes in leprosy sent to a remote African outpost to discover a jungle that is slowly crystallizing and encroaching upon everything it touches. Disc one comprises six tracks while disc two consists of one extended piece, Extinction, that picks up on the intensity of disc one and sustains it for close to an hour. On The Crystal World, Terence Hannum, and André Foisy, are joined by Steven Hess (On, Pan American, Ural Umbo) on percussion and electronics. Hess’ contribution pushes Locrian deeper into the abyss of despair rendering a sound that is darker, bleaker, and engulfing than any of the group’s previous releases. Locrian continue the conceptual trajectory of blackened drone that the group initially embarked on during their first studio album Drenched Lands (2009). Masters of layering, The Crystal World finds the group manipulating tones and textures that transport the listener to an apocalyptic wasteland. At times, the layers are serene and somber, at other times they are chaotic.
The Crystal World is Locrian's essential release, finding the band creating a sound all of their own. A sound that evades simplistic analogies to black metal, power-electronics, noise, or other categories. This is the album that will stun fans of the bands previous works with how far the group has come from their early releases. Presented in a Stoughton gatefold sleeve with art by Vberkvlt.
Brooklyn Vegan Premiere Video for Locrian "Pathogens" (excerpt) from "The Crystal World" [Video by Nicholas O'Brien]
Monday, November 1, 2010
Thanks also to Raymond Salvatore Harmon for the amazing video. Put on your 3-D glasses for it though!
Stay tuned for more videos from "The Crystal World" being released really soon...
Friday, October 29, 2010
Here's the full list of stuff that will be on the show:
01 thisquietarmy “the hierarchy of angels”, from “aftermath”
02 I Am Seamonster “nebulum” extract, from “nebulum/constellatrix”
03 Aidan Baker “figures part1″ extract, from “blue figures”
04 Pleq “first to fall”, from “ballet mechanic”
05 Pleq “good night”, from “ballet mechanic”
06 Jeremie Mathes “sylgr” extract, from “gjöll”
07 Alistair Crosbie “shadowclatter”, from “ashenground”
08 Peter Wright, yet untitled track from forthcoming album
09 Locrian “rain of ashes” extract, from “rain of ashes”
10 Tamagawa “à toi ho cloporte”, from “l’arbre aux fées”
11 Yui Onodera & The Beautiful Schizophonic “urban form”, from “radiance”
12 thisquietarmy + Yellow6 “furnace”, from “death”
13 Nadja “corrasion” extract, from “corrasion”
14 Aidan Baker “lapse” extract, from “i fall into you”
15 Lunar Miasma “circle mountain”, from “crystal covered”
16 Nicholas Szczepanik “when I’m no longer afraid of you” extract, from “dear dad”
17 Celer “how dear this ear of reason, beneath the backlit sun” extract, from “panoramic dreams bathed in seldomness”