Darsombra ‘Climax Community’ CD/LP/DD 2012
With a unique sonic blueprint that is equal parts experimental, psychedelia, krautrock and drone, Darsombra achieve the sheer transcendence and intensity that most drone acts can only dream of with an enviable effortlessness. Though Darsombra as an entity is an audiovisual collaboration with visual artist Ann Everton, the music itself is entirely the work of grizzled axeman Brian Daniloski (of Maryland sludge vagabonds Meatjack).
‘Climax Community’ marks the project’s third full-length, but where previous work has centred on creating more earthen, paranoia-inducing compositions, here Daniloski instead aims skyward, reaching for a celestial warmth, while skilfully implying a myriad of other textures and emotions en route. All this is divided into two REALLY long tracks, punctuated by a four-minute interlude.
‘Roaming the Periphery’ emerges out of deep bass fuzz, with Daniloski’s exultant, droning chants echoing between hard left and right before tapering and trailing off like smoke, distant intonations rising from snowy peaks. With the hypnotic foundations laid, guitar noise and ambience then begin to crawl into the mix. With all the patience and deliberateness of a sculptor, Daniloski lays down slab upon slab of thick but sharp sonic fragments that coil about each other, gradually enveloping the composition in warm oscillations. Continuously evolving, each distinct melodic incision compounds the harmonics and overtones ebbing around the track’s fringes. It all has the odd effect of being simultaneously calming and stirring.
Between the record’s two main tracks, ‘Green’ offers a change of pace in the form of a rootsy acoustic guitar interlude. It may only be a brief distraction, but it does prove surprisingly effective at resetting the listener’s brain for another bout of drone.
‘Thunder Thighs’ (snort) opens with strains of iridescent sitar buzz, while a ruminative clean lead swells as though performed from a canyon floor. But after drawing the listener in on meditative repetition once more, Daniloski lays on the distortion and takes a sharp left turn into a chugging riff. Piece by piece, the track begins to bristle with menace, cycling for its duration between a muscular assuredness and that same hint of peril. And when the vocals finally kick in, Daniloski surrounds the mix with a mock diatribe of hollering and air raid whines that eventually implode into a luminous choral surge, gently guiding the track to its concluding bass hum.
Thus, ‘Climax Community’ takes what Darsombra has done previously and pushes the envelope. The sheer evocative power of the music is huge. In my nerdy brain, this record almost feels like a psyched-out soundtrack to the Earth’s formation and evolution of complex life in slow motion – majestic and utterly vast. It sidesteps many of the pitfalls of typical drone, while ensuring that being drawn in isn’t a chore. Like all music of that ilk, it does require an investment of time and attention – but it’s a journey that feels both rewarding and well-travelled. Anyone interested in psychedelic music would do well to immerse themselves in this record and see where it takes them.
Label: Exile On Mainstream Records
Scribed by: George Leeming