3 out of 5
Label: Hydra Head
Produced by: Faith Coloccia, Randall Dunn, Aaron Turner (recorded by)
A mostly intriguing split release of ambient, doom-y drone from Mamiffer (A-side) and Pyramids (B-side), this full-length, 3 track album ultimately feels a bit too open-ended to function as a synchronous listen.
The main culprit is Mamiffer: opener Sophia is dense and crawling noise / static, and there’re certainly a lot of interesting things buried in there, but it also is the kind of ambient that requires context to work. That context might just be more ambient, but it’s simply a track that feels ultimately too slight on its own, and doesn’t quite achieve any defined emotive / tonal state. Followup Tichá Noc is, initially, a very strong backup, though, and takes steps towards providing the aforementioned context. While the Pyramids track – which I’ll get to – does echo some of the sound elements of the Mamiffer ones, it’s still not quite the same as having a wholly conceived album by one artist or the other, so it doesn’t fully achieve immersiveness; and before that, despite several listens, I had trouble fitting the vocals of Tichá Noc with its brilliant waves of distortion, and disruption. They’re very clean, and seem to sit on a wholly separate plane than the music. For me, it took me right out of the track, making its back half not nearly as successful as its front.
Pyramids owns the B-side, though: This Is One For Everyone is probably not accurately named, as I doubt the broken beats and aural washes will truly be for all audiences, but it is incredibly palatable drone. The cavernous, off-timed drumming in its first section instantly set a mood, and as it deconstructs in its latter parts – echoing some of the better Mamiffer sounds – it’s the weird mix of being a pleasant, and yet unsettling, come down.
All the music here is for sure intriguing, just uneven when considered as a whole.