sunn0))) Worship

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sunn0))) Worship

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).

  • sunn0))) – Discography:
  • The Grimmrobe Demos (demo 1998 - CD 2000 – 2 x PLP 2003 – 2 x LP 2004)
  • ØØ Void (CD 2000 – 2 x LP 2003)
  • Flight of the Behemoth (CD & 2 x LP 2002)
  • White 1 (CD & 2 x LP 2003)
  • Veils It White (12" 2003)
  • The Libations of Samhain (live CD 2003)
  • Live Action Sampler (promotional mix 2 x CD 2004)
  • Live White (live 2 x CD 2004)
  • White 2 (CD & 2 x LP 2004)
  • Cro-Monolithic Remixes for an Iron Age (12" 2004)
  • Candlewolf of the Golden Chalice (12" 2005)
  • Black One & Solstitium Fulminate (2 x CD 2005 - ltd 2000 copies)
  • Black One (CD 2005 – 2 x LP 2006)
  • Angel Coma (Limited edition split LP single with Earth 2006)
  • La Mort Noir dans Esch/Alzette (Live CD limited to 1000 machine-numbered copies - sold on 2006 tour)
  • WHITE box (4 x LP boxed set reissue of White albums - ltd 450 - w/ both versions of the song "DECAY" and bonus track "CUT WOODeD" - 2006)
  • Altar (collaboration with Boris - CD 2006 – 2 x CD ltd. 5000 2006 – 3 x LP 2007)
  • Oracle (12") (2007)

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.

  • Southern Lord Records Discography:
  • SUNN01 Thorr's Hammer - Dommedagsnatt
  • SUNN02 Burning Witch - Crippled Lucifer
  • SUNN03 The Obsessed - Incarnate Black
  • SUNN04 Electric Wizard - Super Coven
  • SUNN05 Goatsnake - Dog Days
  • SUNN06 The Want - Greatest Hits Volume 5
  • SUNN07 Mondo Generator - Cocaine Rodeo
  • SUNN08 Internal Void - Unearthed
  • SUNN08.5 Paul Chain/Internal Void - Split 7"
  • SUNN09 Warhorse - As Heaven Turns to Ash
  • SUNN09.5 Cathedral - Gargoylian 7"
  • SUNN10 Boris - Absolutego+
  • SUNN10.5 Spiritual Beggars/Grand Magus - Split 7"
  • SUNN11 Church Of Misery - Master Of Brutality
  • SUNN11.5 The Obsessed/Mystic Crewe Of Clearlight - Split 7"
  • SUNN12 Desert Sessions - 7 & 8
  • SUNN12.5 Mark D - 7"
  • SUNN13 Goatsnake - Flower Of Disease
  • SUNN13.5 Unearthly Trance - 7"
  • SUNN14 Khanate - Khanate
  • SUNN14.5 Place Of Skulls - 7"
  • SUNN15 sunnO))) - Flight Of The Behemoth
  • SUNN15.5 Warhorse - I Am Dying 7"
  • SUNN16 Place Of Skulls - Nailed
  • SUNN17 Teeth Of Lions Rules The Divine - Rampton
  • SUNN18 Spaceboy - Searching The Stone Library For The Green Page
  • SUNN19 Earthride - Taming Of The Demons
  • SUNN19.5 Dukes Of Nothing - 7"
  • SUNN20 Sourvein - Will To Mangle 666 Clear
  • SUNN21 Darkest Hour - The Mark Of The Judas
  • SUNN22 Grief - Turbulent Times
  • SUNN23 Toadliquor - The Hortator's Lament
  • SUNN24 Boris - Amplifier Worship
  • SUNN25 sunnO))) - White 1
  • SUNN25.5 Loincloth - 7"
  • SUNN25+31MARK2 sunnO))) - WHITEbox
  • SUNN26 Attila Csihar - The Beast Of
  • SUNN26.5 Orcustus - World Dirtnap 7"
  • SUNN27 Place Of Skulls - With Vision
  • SUNN27.5 Outlaw Order - Legalize Crime 7"
  • SUNN28 Khanate - Things Viral
  • SUNN28.5 Thee Plague Of Gentleman - 7"
  • SUNN29 Tangorodrim - Unholy And Unlimited
  • SUNN29.5 Graves At Sea - 7"
  • SUNN30 Probot - Probot
  • SUNN30.5 Probot - "Centuries Of Sin" 7"
  • SUNN31 sunnO))) - White 2
  • SUNN31.5 Eyehategod/Cripple Bastards - Split 7"
  • SUNN32 Saint Vitus - V
  • SUNN32.5 Mord - 7"
  • SUNN33 Goatsnake - Trampled Under Hoof
  • SUNN34 Goatsnake - I & Dog Days
  • SUNN35 Lair Of The Minotaur - Carnage
  • SUNN36 Hidden Hand - Mother Teacher Destroyer
  • SUNN36.5 sunnO))) - Cro Monolithic Remixes For An Iron Age 12"
  • SUNN37 sunnO))) - The Grimmrobe Demos
  • SUNN38 Urgehal - Through Thick Fog Til' Death
  • SUNN39 Thrones - Day Late, Dollar Short
  • SUNN40 Earth - Legacy Of Dissolution
  • SUNN41 Boris - Akuma No Uta
  • SUNN42 Nortt/Xasthur - A Curse For The Lifeless
  • SUNN42.5 Nachtmystium - Eulogy IV
  • SUNN43 St. Vitus - Live
  • SUNN44 Xasthur - Nocturnal Poisoning
  • SUNN45 Repulsion - Horrified
  • SUNN45.5 Lurker Of Chalice - Lurker Of Chalice
  • SUNN46 Oren Ambarchi - Triste
  • SUNN46.5 Frost - 3"/5"/7"
  • SUNN47 Twilight - Twilight
  • SUNN47.5 Haemoth - Kontamination
  • SUNN48 Earth - Hex; Or Printing In The Infernal Method
  • SUNN49 Lair Of The Minotaur - Cannibal Massacre
  • SUNN49.5 Deathspell Omega - Kenose
  • SUNN50 sunnO))) - Black One
  • SUNN50.5 sunnO))) - Solstitium Fulminate
  • SUNN51 Earthride - Vampire Circus
  • SUNN52 The Hidden Hand - Devoid Of Colour
  • SUNN52.5 Nattefrost - Nekronaut
  • SUNN53 Urgehal - Goatcraft Torment
  • SUNN53.5 Orcustus - Wrathrash
  • SUNN54 Craft - Fuck The Universe
  • SUNN55 Boris - Pink
  • SUNN56 Lair Of The Minotaur - Ultimate Destroyer
  • SUNN56.5 Nachtmystium - Instinct: Decay
  • SUNN57 Confessor - Unraveled
  • SUNN57.5 Zoroaster - Zoroaster
  • SUNN58 Mord - Christendom Perished
  • SUNN59 Grief - Alive
  • SUNN60 Striborg - Embittered Darkness/Isle des Mortes
  • SUNN61 Oren Ambarchi - Grapes From The Estate
  • SUNN61.5 Katharsis - World Without End
  • SUNN62 sunnO))) & Boris - Altar
  • SUNN63 Clown Alley - Circus of Chaos
  • SUNN64.5 Funeral Mist - Salvation
  • SUNN65.5 Funeral Mist - Delivery
  • SUNN66 Various Artists - Darkness Knows No Boundaries
  • SUNN66.6 sunnO))) - La Mort Noir dans Esch/Alzette

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
Contact: wastebin@trakMARX.com   trakMARX.com - Writing About Music Is Like Dancing To Architecture