Label : Southern Lord

Review by Luisa Mercier

I have to admit that, before listening to this record, I had always heard talking about Sunn O))) as a band with a certain esoteric feeling around, like something mysterious and really hard to grasp. So I never really tried to listen their material until this reissue came to my working desk. I have to say that it took a while to adjust to their work, since it is absolutely beyond all the boundaries of what we usually call “music”.

“ØØ Void” is their first full-length release and it was composed around 2000. Now this record has acquired the status of “cult album” and Southern Lord Recordings is re-issueing it with a different and evocative cover artwork. It suits much better the content than the original, in my opinion. At that time the band featured Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson, and on this release they were joined by Stuart Dahlquist (Goatsnake, Burning Witch), Petra Haden (violin, vocals) and Pete Stahl. Their tunes are completely deprived of any hint of melody or rhytmn and are built over very long guitar riffs, resembling a series of reverberations. The opener “Richard” was written by Dahquist and it is a 14-minute track based on riffs only. Despite the apparent heavyness and gloominess, the song has an extraordinary calming and alienating effect. It feels like floating, it is almost impossible to think to the material world around us until its end. Quite a dichotomy, to say the least. These are sensations that usually I got with ambient, chill-out music and this is really the opposite of it.

“NN O)))” was composed by Greg Anderson and the riff is primal, it goes to the roots of what sound is, to its basic nature. A very weak chanting can be heard here and there, looking like more the wailings of tortured souls from one of the hells beyond. To really grasp the meaning of all this, it is necessary to experience this track live, alone, paying a lot of attention to the details. “Rabbits’ Revenge” is a cover of Melvins and continues the hypnotic waltz. At almost midway you can hear background noise like coming from another world. O’ Malley wrote “Ra at Dusk” which is considered the “up-tempo” song of this album. It almost has a rhythm, but it soon fades away once a wave of reverberations overtakes the instruments and leaves the song’s remaining minutes devoted to the amplifier. I ended being fascinated by them, it really is a very different musical experience. You should try by yourself to really understand what SUNN O))) are about.

Rating – 85/100

 

Tracklist 

  1. Richard
  2. NN 0)))
  3. Rabbits’ Revenge
  4. Ra At Dusk

 

Line Up

  • Greg Anderson – Guitars, Bass
  • Stephen O’Malley –  Guitars, Bass
  • Pete Stahl  – Vocals (guest)
  • Scott Reeder  – Bass (guest)
  • Petra Haden – Violin & Vocals (Guest)

 

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