Friday, October 5, 2012

Free Music Friday: Crowhurst's "No Life to Live"

This is the first installment of a new "series" I plan on running each week. I'm not sure if future occurrences will feature full-length reviews or if they'll be a collection of some of my weekly bandcamp discoveries/legally shared files. We'll see, depending on how creative I am. This week I am sharing an album that can be obtained for free or purchased either on cassette or a 4xLP set. This album, "No Life to Live," is currently available for the price of your choosing on Crowhurst's bandcamp page, and is worth the two hours of your life it will consume.

First, I must say that this is not a metal release in any sense of the word. This is a display of extreme sound manipulation, an experiment in atmosphere. Opening track "I Saw the Sky" gradually leads the listener on a descent into darkness and anxiety. Following the name, I can't help but envision the sky being obscured by black clouds as the world slowly crumbles beneath. About three minutes in, the rumbling wall of terror gives way to haunting bells, an eerie aftermath to the song's prior chaos. Rather than being a repetition of the aural nightmare presented before it, "Pleading for the White Light" showcases a blurry sort of beauty and melody, reminding me of foggy mornings on the rocky Pacific coastline. Although the song builds to a dissonant hum, it's still an experience I find soothing.

The dichotomy of sounds instantly presented challenges and excites me as a listener. It's enjoyable to have an album take on many faces rather than present eight to twelve tracks of sameness. If I'm kept on my toes, it's more likely that each song will leave an impression, and that's exactly how this album works. According to commentary from Crowhurst's main figure, Jay Gambit, this record is meant to be an epic collage of songs, in the vein of masterpieces such as Swans' "Soundtracks for the Blind" or Today is the Day's "Sadness Will Prevail." While it's quite different from both of those albums in style, this album feels like it comes from a similar sort of place. All three albums have intense, introspective, and painful moments. All three albums are more patchwork than seamless pieces meant to flow together. In this regard, Crowhurst has certainly put together a beast worthy of its influences.

While the album is generally a collection of noise and drone works, there is enough variety to keep me entertained and interested. Some of the strongest points on this album are the longer songs, where Crowhurst is really able to let an atmosphere stretch out and consume the listener. Songs like "How to Burn a Book" and the title track may be intimidating in length at the first glance, but have proven to be some of my favorite moments on this album. Other highlights are the glitchy fuzz of "Coma Vision," the abrasive and unexpected ritualistic jam of "Run For Your Life," and the brief yet stunning crackling radiance of "The Sun is Like a Bacteria." While I'd normally try to link one or two songs that represent this release as a whole, it just isn't possible. Each song is equally song on its own or as a part of the complete album experience.

If you're interested in purchasing this/contributing to its release, please visit the ordering page to select either the 4xLP or cassette package and help this amazing album see the light of day. Also, it was recently announced that all orders of this album will come with a copy of Crowhurst's split tape with Rosy Palms for no extra cost, so that's just one more great reason to consider purchasing this after giving it a listen or two.

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