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Sunn O))): Kannon

Sunn garners plenty of attention and this album is no exception. The first full-length release from the band in several years, it came out in December to strong reviews from rock critics and hipsters alike. Some commentators insist on the band's sacred qualities, other on the enduring power of the drone. I'd like to join with others in saying a few things about the surprising power of the vocals on this release. Sunn, of course, is not known for vocals. Instead, the music is entirely instrumental and is built around a heavy and powerful drone. On this album, the band invited Mayhem's Atilla Csihar to perform vocal passages on each track. The result is a haunting and, yes, spiritual collection of songs. Every song has the term "Kannon" in the title but the whole thing is broken up into three parts. If I understand right, Kannon refers to the Buddhist goddess of mercy. The album cover also depicts an abstract sculpture representing Kannon.

As for the music, many people have noted that it moves a little more quickly than other releases from this band. That isn't quite right; things play out at slow tempos just as before but the vocals do give things a little more sense of speed and structure. Some listeners may find this album to be more accessible than others, but that point shouldn't be pressed too far. This is less a transitional release than it is a Sunn album that also gives space to vocals.

I enjoyed listening to the album on the whole, but found myself esepcailly drawn to "Kannon 2" because it appealed to my own sense of the sacred and the meditative more than the others. Of course, I can't really explain why that is or how it worked. To listen to Sunn is to have an experience, one that it both thoughtful and abstract. It may even border on the spiritual.

Track Listing:
1. Kannon 1
2. Kannon 2
3. Kannon 3

Added: February 20th 2016
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Bandcamp Page
Hits: 1218
Language: english

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