Locrian – Dort Ist Der Weg b/w Frozen In Ash

01/09/2011 § Leave a comment

Locrian are one of the few remaining ambassadors of the actual. Ever since their earlier, experimental days when they were releasing two-track splits and demos over cassette, they’ve never given the impression that they were in a formative stage, that they were finding their feet. Locrian hit the ground running from day one. And now, several albums down the line, the intensity of their sound and the genuineness of their essence haven’t been lost at all. If anything, Locrian are still on a road of expansion. It’s as if with every bar of their output the band are drip-feeding us piecemeal quantities from a dark colossus of emotion, one which never seems to be depleted: an ever-engorged, ever-strong and self-supporting axiom of personal distress. Their catalogue remains unstatic, a crusade which has been thoroughly mapped out with no fissure of uncertainty or overindulgence to crack their lacquer of self-knowledge, but it’s one which we’ll only ever travel at their pace. There are still surprises in store.

11th September will see the release of their first 7″ single through Flingco Sound System, consisting of a cover of Popul Vuh’s excellent Dort Ist Der Weg, and the original Frozen in Ash. Locrian take the canorous, waterlike fluidity of Popul Vuh’s original and give it a barbed tinge. However, this is no mere reworking or interpretation. Locrian’s vision enables them to coax hidden realities out of third-party sounds, to reignite dormant fires; they are able to extract and bring to the pulpit the quietened voice within another’s work. As such, this new exhalation hard-blown into the belly of 70′s Krautrock doesn’t feel forced or unnatural, but that it was always existent, it only took newer, fresher eyes to see it. The rising, spectre-like female vocals are still present as in the original but combined with the pinched, taut guitar tone, the experience is all the more electrifying. There’s a new, more meaningful undercurrent espied in this piece, and its realisation creates a tension for release. As the track builds, the instruments overlap till the guitar takes on a howling, droning scream which serves as a climax until it whithers and calms into a still ether.

Frozen in Ash is one of the finest moments of the band’s catalogue. Opening with a snipped, fuzzed and trebly post-rock feel, mixed with Steven’s pained screams, the band mix, fuse and bastardise elements of drone, doom and rock, all thrown in with the darkness and depth of black metal. Shortly, an acoustic guitar melody repeats percussively over the top while a faster drum rhythm appears and ebbs into the foreground. As the drumming intensifies, Frozen in Ash becomes alive with its own pulse, its own weight, gravity and being until finally everything drops and ceases as we are left hanging in the tipped scales of Locrian’s aural might, left with an immense afterglow of liberation. Locrian know the power of silence as much as the power of noise.

Being 12 minutes in length, you’d be forgiven for being skeptical as to the full effectiveness of this 7″. But Locrian don’t just create music, they create sentience. Every track of theirs carries its own life-force, its own pain and its own benevolence. Within each chord and note pounds the ice-blue nucleus of unrealised and misunderstood pain, folded with layer upon layer of sound and feeling. There is nothing casual to these messages, it’s possible to get lost in their tiers, their labyrinthine halls of devastation. Music of this sort lives and breathes its own being far beyond the gridded confines of genre lists. ‘Less is more’ would hardly be the tenet to suffice here – with Locrian, more is more.

Rating: 4.5/5

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