Solar Deities . . .
Conversions often happen on the road to somewhere: Damascus, for example. My conversion to all things sunn0))), conversely, happened on Oxford Street: The Road To The 100 Club. We were in town for the Meet Eater bash - & I was busy sticking up trakMARX flyers as Dee Generate sound-checked his drums. Dee was wearing a black t-shirt emblazoned with the word sunn0))) in red. I fell in love with a logo before I’d even heard a note!
sunnO))) - (pronounced ‘sun’) - are Stephen O'Malley (Khanate, Burning Witch) and Greg Anderson (Goatsnake). Formed in 1998 as a tribute to Dylan Carlson’s Earth (“sunn0))) revolve around Earth” – Stephen O’Malley), the group’s name also serves as homage to the Sunn amplifier brand, whose logo is appropriated to form the group’s moniker: sunnO))).
sunn0)))’s music is extremely heavy: a cornucopia of tone, if you will. Like extreme hunger, it twists & tweaks your intestines, causing movements of gas & other such exchanges with the atmosphere. The signature sunn0))) sound is a doom laden drone drenched in down-tuned riffery – sans beat, sans vox, sans tune! Taking Black Sabbath as their melting pot – Earth & Melvins as their main ingredients – sunn0))) fashion a hearty broth of substance for the disillusioned. The aforementioned atmosphere created - both on record and in concert - is intrinsically ritualistic – hence the robes worn by O’Malley, Anderson & associates during live actions: swathed in the fog from several industrial smoke machines, an undeterminable number of hoods/cowls bob about in front of walls of Sunn & Orange amplification, whilst admirers writhe about on the dance-floor with blood & brains protruding from their ears.
The word art cannot be entirely disassociated from the word sunn0))). The group have a highly refined & unique approach to both packaging & format – mainly thanks to O’Malley’s skills as a graphics designer - & sunn0))) records & CDs are therefore always impeccably dressed (with vinyl editions often boasting bonus material & ephemera). Obviously, much of this swag is already nigh on impossible to acquire via conventional avenues - & anyone hoping to access sunn0)))’s entire catalogue on vinyl should be prepared to put in the hours monitoring Ebay.
Over the course of their rapidly expanding catalogue, sunn0))) have continually honed & refined their craft via experimentation & collaboration. The basic entry-level guitar/bass invocations of earlier material - The Grimmrobe Demos & ØØ Void - have been subsequently augmented by noisier elements (Flight of the Behemoth), guest appearances & auxiliary instrumentation (White 1, White 2 & Black One) & full collaborations (Alter – with Boris – see Reviews tMx 28). Principal sunn0))) collaborators have included: Merzbow (Japanese "God of Noise"), Julian Cope (Arch Drood Of All Britain), Joe Preston (High On Fire, Thrones, Earth, Melvins), Attila Csihar (Mayhem, Aborym), Lee Dorrian (Cathedral, Napalm Death), Aaron Turner (Hydra Head Records, Lotus Eaters, Isis), Oren Ambarchi, Malefic (Xasthur), Wrest (Twilight, Leviathan, Lurker of Chalice).
Besides his work with sunn0))), O’Malley also participates in a whole raft of side projects: KTL, AEthenor, Ginnungagap, Lotus Eaters – as well as running Southern Lord – the label he founded with Anderson in 1998.
During the last 4-months I have found myself being sucked ever deeper into sunn0)))’s aural quagmire. In my formative, pre-teen years – long before the onset of drugs & alcohol as mediums of altered consciousness – I used to be able to induce my own embryonic-trance-like-states through the music of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin & Deep Purple: miles beneath the duvet, cocooned in innocence, trembling with anticipation, volume set to mother-worrying, constantly on the verge of discovery. sunn0))) take me back to those halcyon days of innocence & naivety & I feel myself daring to believe all over again. sunn0))) make music you can feel on the inside. It doesn’t really matter what happens on the outside.
Jean Encoule – tMx 28 – 01/07
Why not: www.myspace.com/thegrimrobes
|Contact: wastebin@trakMARX.com trakMARX.com - Writing About Music Is Like Dancing To Architecture|