Hello out there! We’re back from the holiday weekend and slowly starting to emerge from the mini ice age into which we had been plunged for the past several days.
And suddenly we find ourselves swiftly approaching the end of another calendar year. Many other writers and other websites are busily publishing their year-end lists; most of the larger outlets who also have print editions have had their lists out since last month if not earlier. Here in the Valley that window stays open until the last day of the year, as always, and the year-end list will be posted in the appropriate spot on the first of January.
But given that it is nearly the end of 2022 and everyone is in just a reflective mood, let’s take a look back at a couple of releases from much earlier this year which we inadvertently hadn’t gotten around to covering yet…
An Evening Redness – An Evening Redness (Transylvanian Recordings, 25 February 2022)
E-L-R – Vexier (Prophecy Productions, 11 March 2022)
Although based in Chicago (at least, I’m pretty sure, according to my attempts at investigative journalism), the duo known as An Evening Redness has taken inspiration for the sound and aesthetics of their debut album from the American southwest — particularly, the deserts of Arizona. Echoey and minimalistic, for the most part, like the desolate region in which it is set, the hour-long record is chiefly constructed from plaintive acoustic guitar, sorrowful slides, and heavier fuzzed sustained parts; producing an Earth-like combination of Americana and doom/drone.
At times, a full band (drums and bass, as well as occasionally some mellifluous singing) rounds out the sound; elsewhere the orchestration becomes more symphonic in nature, reminiscent of the illustrative nature of Pictures at an Exhibition. In this way, the recording often tends to evoke thoughts of a cinematic soundtrack — one that very gradually increases in overall intensity while consequently becoming less serene and pastoral in nature; perhaps a soundtrack befitting a hypothetical motion picture adapted from the Cormac McCarthy novel from whose title both the band’s and the album’s name were derived.
Giving off a similarly cinematic atmosphere, at least in spots sprinkled amongst the heavier and doomier bits, is Vexier, the sophomore release of Swiss trio E-L-R. These five tracks (forty-five minutes altogether) ought to also appeal to fans of drone music, although here the instrumentation is far less sparse, typically bringing in elements of cosmic shoegaze or doomgaze.
This combination of spacey atmospherics and crushing doomy rhythms, repeated over and over along with trancelike vocals, tends to produce quite a mesmerizing state for the listener. As it continues to build, in some later moments the hypnotic and pulverizing elements conjoin with thunderous percussion and riffs somewhat evocative of more of a post-black or blackgaze style, drawing us in deeper and deeper, until culminating in the pulsating groove of the closing track, which ultimately ends up fading away like a gentle breeze…
You can listen to both releases via Bandcamp (see below), and then buy a copy of An Evening Redness (CD/cassette/digital) here and Vexier (CD/vinyl/digital) here.
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An Evening Redness on Twitter
Transylvanian Recordings on Bandcamp
E-L-R on Bandcamp
E-L-R on Twitter
Prophecy Productions website
Prophecy Productions on Bandcamp
Prophecy Productions on Twitter