Monday, November 16, 2009

Crucial Blast on Locrian

Two new thoughtful entries from the Crucial Blast webstore:

LOCRIAN Rhetoric Of Surfaces CD (Bloodlust!)

Before they released the amazing blackened kosmiche doomdrone of Drenched Lands, the Chicago duo Locrian had been busy putting together small runs of cassettes and cd-rs that showcased their earlier, rougher experiments in extended guitar trance and psychedelic ambience; this older stuff sounds a lot more industrial and abrasive than their more recent releases, but even here Locrian were highly skilled at crafting immense drone-zones that combined looping guitar noise, ambient downtuned heaviness and hints of the kosmiche synthesizer sounds that would become more prominent and massive on later discs. A lot of those older Locrian releases were put out in super small runs that sold out quickly, making them nearly impossible to come by now, but Bloodlust! released this collection of out of print material last year that also features some previously unreleased material, and all of it is killer stuff. Rhetoric Of Surfaces is assembled primarily from cassette material and live performances that span 2006-2007, and most of this is heavy, metallurgic psychdrone and avant industrial guitar crush that'll fit in any record collection that includes large helpings of Blue Sabbath Black Cheer, To Blacken The Pages, Vulture Club, Sunn O))), Fear Falls Burning, Light Of Shipwreck, Final, Pussygutt, Fulci, and Half Makeshift.
A handful of these tracks were recorded live on the Something Else radio show on the indie Chicago station WLUW back in '07: the first track "Drosscape" appears here for the first time, a heavy blackened blur of feedback, ghoulish screams, thick swaths of Earth-style amp drone, and creepy noises that float through endless waves of delay and effects. That's followed by "Burying The Carnival" (from the split cassette with Continent), a gargantuan thirteen minute slab of psychedelic blackdrone filled with abstract guitar squiggle scattered across immense distorted drones, rippling waves of blackened shrieking vocals, and chaotic buzzing melodies that start to sound like bagpipes being run through some sort of electronic filter, like a chaotic mix of Abruptum and Total with someone going berserk on a chain of delay pedals. And "Visible/Invisible" (which previously appeared on the split tape with Colossus that came out on Heavy Nature) begins with the muted tolling of bells before soft plumes of feedback and melodic keyboard clusters slowly drift upwards; as the track progresses, it's gradually joined by deep bass pulses, increasingly dense layers of droning synth and Tangerine Dream keys that form into a lush deep-space raga, and distant wordless singing that floats high above the swirling psychedelic ambience, hinting at the even more kosmiche direction that their music would take later on. Then there's the crushing spacenoise storm of "Gruen Transfers", a massive billowing cloud of extreme delay, looping fragments of feedback, deep rumbling machine noise, pulsing metallic skree, and heavy guitar drone that sounds like an Astro/C.C.C.C. jam on quaaludes and which had previously shown up on the No More Noise compilation on Scissor Death. The final two tracks ("Chladni" and "Amps Into Instruments") are two of Locrians earliest recordings, first appearing on the long-gone cd-r II from 2006; the former is a relatively short piece of rumbling distorted amp hum that's stretched taut across a barely perceptible rhythmic thump as someone lays down some hyperkinetic guitar shred, while the latter is an epic eighteen minute jam that begins with delicate delayed guitar notes, a simple industrial pulse, and streaks of distorted feedback; as it continues to unfold, gouts of thick amp rumble and feedback skree pour in, washing over the simple three-note melody that cycles throughout the track, and the sound changes shape from crushing free-drone to cosmic folk heaviness to the pounding, krautrocky dirge that appears across the entire last ten minutes, a massive propulsive dirge, heavy and metallic but obscured beneath swirling synths and buzzing harmonic overtones.
Track Samples:
Sample : Chladni
Sample : Drosscape
Sample : Gruen Transfers

LOCRIAN Plague Journal 7 INCH VINYL (Bloodlust!)

This Chicago duo blew me away after seeing them on tour in Baltimore this past summer and then getting turned on to their excellent Drenched Lands album, and I've been tracking down their other releases since. This limited edition 7" came out a while back and we managed to grab a few of the last copies that were available.
The a-side features "Plague Journal", where Locrian loop a fragment of blackened metallic riffage and send it tumbling through one of their black clouds of sidereal cosmic ambience and swirling feedback. This jam is a lot less krautrocky and kosmiche than their newer material, but it's heavy as hell, full of thick chunks of grinding guitar and stuttering spaced-out squiggle writhing through the dense amplifier noise, becoming more epic and mesmerizing as it builds into a clustered mass of sparkling overtones and minor key melody, like hearing a metal guitarist shredding across one of Troum's more blown-out slabs of guitar ambience...
On the other hand, the b-side is more along the lines of the newer teutonic Locrian stuff; "Apocryphal City, Portents Fallen" opens with a deep-space fog of muted reverb and nebulous drift, deformed guitar loops swirling through the darkness, waves of metallic choral synths, trippy electronic effects and tape noise drifting through space, sounding like Growing at their most krautrock-ish, the simple guitar melody forming into a cascade of layered arpeggios, and as the track reaches the end, huge waves of distorted doomy riffage and crushing ambient heaviness suddenly sweep in as the music becomes a massive sludgy kosmiche swirl, equal parts Schulze and Sunn, spaced out and heavy as hell.
Only three hundred copies pressed, on white vinyl and packaged in a plain white jacket with a black and white xeroxed insert.