The Golden Sores, "A Peaceable Kingdom"
Written by Creaig Dunton
Sunday, 05 July 2009
Along with the likes of label mates (and fellow Chicagoans) Locrian, The Golden Sores have taken a modernized approach to drone, away from the traditional academia of La Monte Young and the like, but also diverging from the metal leanings of Sunn O))) into its own realm of ambience and electronic sensibilities.
Like Locrian, The Golden Sores lean heavily on synthesizers and electronics, though the two projects are quite unique in their own way. For the most part, even with the occasionally harsher moments of this disc, it never leads into metal riffing, and when it does begin to encroach on harsher sounds, there is usually a softer ambient underpinning that keeps the dissonance reigned in.
Opener "Double Gyres" begins with organ-like opening tones that slowly drift on, an opaque wall of sound that stays static as shrill guitar feedback cuts around. The guitar tone and texture is extremely raw, but not overly harsh or aggressive, but instead provides a great counterpoint to the otherwise peaceful electronic ambience. "The Awful Rowing Toward God" is similar in its presentation with the jagged guitar shrikes, though here with lower end buzzing amp noise and a simple, but buoyant bassline that keeps the song drifting along, occasionally resembling the more electronic dub oriented Main tracks, though here the guitar slides into raw noise territory about midway though before retreating back to a more purely ambient coda.
Living up to its title, "Klonopin" is a more subdued affair. There is the cutting guitar buzz here, but it is more mellow and a bit lower in the mix. It never fully disappears or becomes ignored, but it definitely allows for more of the ambient textures to shine through, and is at its core a more subdued work than the previous two, but never falling into overly boring or mundane territory. "Ondine" also keeps the fuzzed out guitar noise reigned in, focusing instead on slower gentle notes and slow-motion sheets of sound.
The closer, "A Vision," distills much of the album down for an appropriate conclusion, combining the brittle guitar shriek with drifting synthetic ambience, though here it remains a relatively sparse mix that, while not harsh, instead has a cold, dark sense of isolation about it. The guitar swells to a buzz-saw level of noise before retreating, closing the album on a somber, restrained note.
This duo has created one of those kind of works that manages to maintain that tenuous balance between reflective ambient soundscapes and grinding, coarse guitar noise in a way that never feels like an unnecessary contrast, but instead mutually inclusive extremes that captivate for both the whisper and the roar that appear.
* Double Gyres
* A Vision