Asva and Philippe Petit Empires Should Burn

Fri 21st September 2012


/incoming/200x200-PromoImage.jpg.pngThis is a bit special, the kings of avant garde dronescapes have teamed up with self-proclaimed 'musical travel agent' Philippe Petit to create a dizzying release that's also brimming with guest vocal spots.

Coming about after a duo Petit is part of supported Asva in Paris, this collaboration holds water that is rusty and acrid and creates tension in a similar way Asva's What You Don't Know Is Frontier, that slow-burning anguish really beating through the fog.

The opening title track could almost be a distant cousin of Tom Waits' What's He Building In There? where the quiet, but malevolent background is punctuated by percussive breaks of strings or slashed guitar strings. Sounds that bring to mind wild footsteps and Asva's penchant for Eastern instrumentation also creep in, almost incidental but not quite. The vocals come courtesy of Edward Ka-Spell of Lengendary Pink Dots and he tells a story in estuary English that gives it the limelight mystery of a Coil track like The Lost Rivers of London. It's a towering 20+ minutes long and for me, made the daily commute shimmer with an other-worldly and unreal glow. Best sticking this on when you are seated and lights dimmed, not trying to pilot a motor vehicle.

Elsewhere, drones collide with elongated bowed notes on Sweet Dreams Asshole which also features some throat singing and reeds, making it a cathedral-size roam through sound, the equally unsettling A Vision has frog-like vocal sides and a tale of reincarnation courtesy of Bryan Lewis Saunders. It all sounds very B-Movie, but the range of sounds Dahlquist twists out alongside Petit mean you don't end up sniggering at the pomposity, more waiting to see what will happen next.

Former Swans enchantress Jarboe wades in with The Star Implodes and performs a similar role she did with the way-underated Neurosis & Jarboe album that came out a few years ago. Haunting and poetic, her lyrics suit the uncanny and shimmering sounds on offer. She always sounds so amazed and in awe, yet threatening and evil too. Some of her work on here extends into ghostly breaths, but that does the job too.

It closes with the easier to digest Apocryphatic Ally with its shades of church organ and sly creeping rumbles, summing up what is a vast and sprawling effort and one that could well convert a drone/ambient naysayer. If you enjoy the bleak and diverting sections on Old Man Gloom albums, this could also well be for you.


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