Twin Sister is the latest project from former Mugstar bassist Jason Stoll and is being released on his God Unknown Records, who is, for the most part, a subscription label, where most copies go to the subscribers and also to the bands (Sly and the Family Drone, Cosmic Dead, Sex Swing to name a few).
Although I had heard of Mugstar, I had hitherto never heard of the label, I may soon have to consider signing up to become a subscriber! Mugstar are a drone, psych, krautrock influenced group who produce records at a prolific pace so if you like bands such as The Cosmic Dead, Gnod and White Hills, then there is every chance you are going to love what they do.
Twin Sister is made up of Jason Stöll on bass, Otto Kokke on Keys and Renë Aquarius on drums. Their first show, according to their Bandcamp page, was going to be at Roadburn 2020, unfortunately as we are aware this, along with the vast majority of gigs and festivals, have now been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. However you can still support Twin Sister, as well as all the other amazing artists out there by purchasing a copy of their records. At a time like this it’s important we help each other out.
The self-titled record is due out on April 17th and the front cover is enigmatic with a picture of, what I assume, is a young woman’s head and the band’s name in the centre of it. I think she is looking at the camera, but you can’t be certain which only adds to the mystery of Twin Sister.
The tracks are all instrumental, have one-word titles and the record starts with the barnstorming Light; the riff reminding me of Swans circa late 80s/early 90s, when they were starting to step away from the extreme noise-rock of their earlier releases to embrace a more expansive sound. Second track Husk continues with the Swans worship while Drought moves into heavier psych territory with a lot of distortion and noise. There is a slight Sonic Youth influence here, as well as krautrock style motorik repetitiveness, I’m really loving this!
if like me you love distorted noise psych with a heavy Ash Ra Tempel and Swans influence, then I heavily recommend you pick up a copy of this album…
Drab which opens the B-Side continues the unbridled psychedelic noise goodness, funnily enough some of the more drone elements remind me of Sunn O)), albeit less pretentious and more engaging. There is nothing ‘drab’ about this track and it fades out with the sound of bird calls (my favourite thing in the morning), before launching into Ashes, the longest track on the album which as the title suggests, is somewhat sombre and downbeat.
I would argue so far as to say there is a goth influence on this track, not the flamboyant nonsense of Sisters of Mercy but Dead Can Dance, where its more about the atmosphere than theatrics. Don’t expect to see Jason and his companions in makeup and crumpled purple velvet shirts anytime soon, it’s more about the sense of foreboding they create, and it is the perfect way to end the album. I must add that the drumming on this track by Renë Aquarius is particularly superb, he is hard hitting but exercises amazing control.
To conclude this review, if like me you love distorted noise psych with a heavy Ash Ra Tempel and Swans influence, then I heavily recommend you pick up a copy of this album. This is a well-produced and performed piece of work that never outstays its welcome. As soon as it finished, I immediately replayed it again, which is a good sign in anyone’s book.
Scribed by: Reza Mills