Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Asva - What You Don't Know is Frontier

for those who have not heard yet, Kayo Dot's latest record 'Blue Lambency Downward' has leaked and is also available streaming from bluelambencydownward.com. Kayo Dot is probably my favorite band, if not them Off Minor and they really have progressed their sound into something familiar yet different with their new record. oddly enough the metal side of their sound has been stripped which may seem weird with their recent signing to Hydrahead Records. although there is a change Kayo Dot's new record is soon to be out and you can expect a more developed review from me on rateyourmusic.com in the future.

kayo dot's 'blue lambency downward'
in keeping themes, the reason i was originally interested in the album i've uploaded is because of Kayo Dot's head Toby Driver's supposed vocal appearance. well, almost two years after its initial announcement it appears although Toby's contribution has been removed the group known as Asva has created a marvelously melancholic experience. drone and doom metal alumni are over this album with it featuring members of Burning Witch, Earth, Sunn 0))), as well as contributors who were involved with Mr. Bungle. but, i really can't talk about this album as well as lefthandpass's Stewart Voegtlin does.

asva's stuart dahlquist
"As luck would have it, I’ve never met Stuart Dahlquist. In late spring of 2005, I patched an awkward bit of writing together hailing the operatic prog of Asva’s Futurists Against the Ocean. I e-mailed him the review and from then on, Stuart and I corresponded willy-nilly, mostly about books, ideas, places; his words always alarmingly honest and innocently unaware. A month after my Futurists review ran, Stuart’s brother, Michael, was killed. I woke up one morning, had coffee and checked some websites. There on Stephen O’Malley’s Ideologic page was the news. The one year anniversary of Michael’s death came around and Stuart wrestled with how he was going to spend that time. He was living in Long Beach, getting along well enough and doing his best to keep the demons at bay. He told me he was going to stay at a mountain cabin and think about Michael. When he came back down that mountain, he said he’d gotten deep down into a bottle of Wild Turkey, listened a lot to Michael’s band, Silkworm, and bawled his eyes out. He told me he missed Michael. He still tells me that a lot. I don’t blame him. Sometime after that I got a package in the mail; it was the What You Don’t Know Is Frontier demo. I put the disc on immediately. Given what I knew, the music was almost unbearably forlorn, a frigid gust of life rumbling the shelves in my living room. Outside the sun was bearing down – the first flex of a muscular summer heat. I have never heard anything like WYDKIF. It reminds me of the first time I heard Mozart’s Requiem, or Gould’s Goldberg Variations. The music has a punishing sort of beauty, an inflicted aesthetics that hands the hearer no choice. I wanted to share it; I pitched articles to some big glossies and never heard back. Undeterred, I tried to cook up a summit without border constraints. No e-mail, no phones. Stuart and I talked about getting together for a big, drunken interview: whisky and words, wishes and wants. I proposed that we do it down South. And then he told me about the family ranch in Livingston, Montana. Well – me being a fly-fisherman – we had our interview location. He told me little to nothing about the ranch proper. He did say that his grandfather’s marker was up there, high in the mountains. He told me what the marker said: That one day we might ride together in a different place. His Sons and Grandsons. And he told me that Michael’s marker will one day rest there as well. The Greek playwright Aeschylus said that there’s no pain so great as the memory of joy in present grief. That quotation, at least for me, encapsulates WYDKIF. But I’m just a writer. I’m listening to the music and listening to what Stuart says about the music, and I’m trying to make a judgment. Sometimes, I can be right. Sometimes, I just cheat – and ask. “Everything I did [after Michael’s death] – and to a large extent still do – is directly affected by the sense of such an absolute loss,” Stuart wrote in an e-mail just before the New Year. “I wasn't sitting there writing music thinking of Michael, but his influence was inescapable.” The phrase, What You Don’t Know is Frontier, came from “Bring Me a Monkey,” a poem Michael wrote. The phrase reluctantly governs the music in the only way it can, acting simultaneously as some sort of wildly incongruous masthead and also as one’s only recourse against the unknown. Outside the slim boundaries of knowledge is – as always – the wilderness. Stuart confessed that the creative process wasn’t so much an emersion as it was avoidance; he poured as much of his emotion into that vessel as he could. One more stray drop would’ve split the hull. “The finished result was what I really wanted, needed actually, to hit an emotional chord,” he wrote. “WYDKIF – when taken as a whole – needed to have real impact to remind me: ‘this is where you were, Stuart, embrace it again.’ I think it succeeds in doing that.” It does. The music is a fabric, a structure that has always been here. Evocation is forever. Presence is tactile. Foundation rolls out to the horizon, what’s grown from its ground is as artificial as it is organic. Guitar and bass weep. Skins and brass are intermittent flares – hot crackling bursts of white and red in the midst of a bottomless black. Melodies ghost through ruin and the mind holds them fast and doesn’t let go. Analogues are plentiful. I thought of Grieg or Berlioz at their greatest bombast. I thought of peasant music; poor, tired and toothless folk gumming nursery rhymes. I thought of Morricone and Orff, Tampa Red, Charley Patton – even Wagner. As soon as I heard the final mix I e-mailed Stuart. “The feeling of vastness is unmatched,” I wrote. “Tons of imagery. It's hard to turn off the mind with these sounds. I just keep seeing the ocean. Lots of water. Lots of rock. Sky. Barren plains. Blood and filth and death. The melodies are touching; the bombast is cathartic. I'm happy as shit for you, bro. You've done it...” He really has. For three straight months, I listened to WYDKIF every day on the way to work. From the highway to the open fields and worn rural roads, my broken speakers rattled and vibrated, the bass thudded and hummed and roared through their scratched black grates. When the pipe organ comes in at the end, the rattling goes away. The organ has such presence, such heft, but it sounds like lightness, like the quality of having little to no physical weight. Stuart had originally performed the piece on a Hammond, but said the pipe organ was [Engineer] Randall [Dunn’s] suggestion; that he “wanted it to sound like air was moving, like the wind was coming back into your sails.” It does. It’s rejuvenating. It’s settling. It makes sense: “WYDKIF is about rebirth,” Stuart wrote, “about that light at the end of the tunnel. Amen.” It’s high past time for that interview, and I hear Livingston trout are just killing beadheads right about now." -lefthandpath.com

asva's 'what you don't know is frontier'
you should all really purchase this album, i know i can't wait to get my copy. sadly, it is not actually out until june.

Kayo Dot - 'Blue Lambency Downward' (2008)

Asva - 'What You Don't Know is Frontier' (2008)

No comments: