Kwaidan ‘Make All The Hell Of Dark Metal Bright’ LP/DD 2013

Kwaidan 'Make All The Hell Of Dark Metal Bright'One third of what must surely be the hardest-working-yet-consistent band in the avant-drone business, André Foisy takes a break from his Locrian colleagues, ahead of their upcoming new album, and apparently effortlessly knocks out this rather wonderful piece of darkly organic deep-space murk with Zelienople drummer/percussionist Mike Weis and former fellow Zelienople keys/synths man Neil Jendon, working under the name Kwaidan, that goes a very long way indeed toward challenging any of the work of Foisy’s erstwhile other outfit. No mean feat.

Make All The Hell Of Dark Metal Bright is an immensely naturalistic sounding recording that unfurls and reveals itself over time and is possessed a dark flow that winds its way throughout the four tracks that sprawl across its two sides of vinyl like a tar-black river cutting through a desolate, blasted landscape.

Deceptively minimalist, all three musicians carve out their individual places inside the sound, and all three are utterly distinct and indispensable, with Weis’ drums and percussion providing the spine of each piece, Jendon’s synths providing the meat and body and Foisy’s guitar embroidering and detailing, adding texture where needed and finer filigree to fill out the sound – such as the oddly Tool-esque delicately chiming shadings of closing track ‘The Sound Of This Bell’, gradually overlaid with creaking modulated string-scrapes and drones, building to a dense crush of guitar-generated sound further thickened with Jendon’s textural electronics and Weis’ scattershot percussion in an almost chaotic swirl of noise that gradually filters out and lessens in its final minutes to leave the ghostly aftersound of haunted synths and distant clubbed drums.

The sound that greets us at the outset is a thick, thrumming ominous bass hum shot through with ripples of cymbal shimmer and jolting, powerful THWACKS from Weis. This throbbing miasma – the first part of a piece called ‘Three Empty Rooms Of Light And Space’, with this being ‘Evening Bell’ – serves to draw the ear, listening for the sounds that come between the breaths of the music. It hums and throbs and swells just like a living thing. This is some powerful magick that the three men  have wrought, possessing a tangible dark energy that oozes from the pores of the music contained herein, and having a more organic feel than that of Foisy’s usual vehicle, Locrian.

Submerged, spidery chiming guitar lines from Foisy usher in the next part, ‘Gateless Gate’, with Weis providing a driving, subtly thunderous percussive anchor rather reminiscent of distant hoofbeats and Jendon threading the whole together into a tightly-woven blanket of sound. Jendon’s spacious hum and Foisy’s insectile guitar carry through into the final segment, ‘Ostension’, as Weis’ percussive heartbeat slows the pace and allows everything more space to breathe. The sense of foreboding almost begins to dissipate until a looped sound like an inhuman croaking voice begins to play, albeit subtly, and we’re back in nightmare territory again.

‘The Iceberg And Its Shadow’ looms out of the fog that Jendon’s synths provide just like the titular mass of rock and ice, the brooding chords and pitch-black drone representing the submerged, greater part of the monolith and icy piano chords playing the part of the moon glinting off of the ice-shrouded vertiginous peak. Over shortly but no less powerful in its evocation.

That leaves only the malevolent penultimate piece ‘Space As Support’ to discuss, and as the loops of tribal percussion, splintered guitar and nebulous synthesizer play out, it occurs to me that the rhythm of this piece reminds me greatly of Brian Eno’s track ‘Sombre Reptiles’ from his Another Green World album, although infinitely darker in hue. A qliphothic response to Eno’s original emanation, a shadow self perhaps.

The overall feel of Make All The Hell Of Dark Metal Bright  has a dark sorcery to it, music brought forth by some kind of black alchemical marriage between the three men involved and the energy that flows throughout being of a generally darker hue – more so than that of more recent Locrian recordings, in fact. Yet even above that, the major thing that I take away from this recording is that it feels completely naturalistic, like the product of a thoroughly organic process that is still very much an on-going one.

I can but hope that this process continues to bear fruit, fruit that will be shared with us again.

Label: Bathetic Records
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Scribed by: Paul Robertson