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Sunn O))) and Ulver: Terrestrials

One of my favorite things about reviewing albums—besides listening to lots of music—is the promotional material that comes with them. In the case of this team-up, these materials are especially rich. Here are a couple of passages: "I remember the vibe in the room back then was more raga than it was rock. And despite the fact that the walls were literally shaking from volume, it was actually quite a blessed out, psychedelic session. I wanted to preserve that vibe in the final mix." That comment, from producer Stephen O'Malley, captures some of the feeling I also got from this album, especially my sense of its power, atmosphere, and, yes, vibe. Similarly, Daniel O'Sullivan has this to say: "You know that opening sequence of Koyaanisquatsi, where the desolate desert landscapes, waves and cloud formations roll over the screen accompanied by deep male chanting and organ ostinatos. That's where we were." Another good description. It's important to remember that Philip Glass, a pioneering figure in minimalism in music, scored Koyaanisquatsi.

I don't suppose any description of mood can capture what's going on with this album. Still, I like what I read because the comments avoid the usual clichés—things like boasting about power, aggression, authenticity, and passion. Indeed, I don't hear Sunn O))) and Ulver selling themselves so much as they are trying to describe what happened to them while they played—all night long—to bring together these pieces. The result, as evidenced by the music here, is fascinating, rare, and hard to grasp. I don't know if this kind of music is beautiful exactly—that term is pretty tough to define anyway—but it is pleasing, memorable, and challenging. I especially liked "Eternal Return," the final track. I found it soothing and serene, meditative and introspective. The other tracks were plenty interesting; I just liked that one best.

My advice: check this album out. Fans of drone and minimalism probably already have it; curious listeners could do a lot worse than starting here.

Track Listing:
1. Let There Be Light
2. Western Horn
3. Eternal Return

Added: April 9th 2014
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Bands Label Page
Hits: 1882
Language: english

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