Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Swamp Horse - Melted Gem (905 Tapes CS)
Also just published at Foxy Digitalis:
These days it seems like everywhere you look there’s some new doom and gloom drone unit harkening the darker forces of the universe. While much of this material takes a similar stance however, Swamp Horse manages to carve out its own niche in the approach. On “Melted Gem” the Kentucky duo of Josh Lay and Morgan Rankin continue to hone their warm and insular musical spaces. Presenting a tapered down version of the epically-inclined proportions of so many working in this vein, they are able to pursue a sound that meets somewhere between the basement murk of Sick Llama and the static immobility of Evenings as infused by bellows of burning air.
Despite the tape being only 20 minutes in length, the proceedings are so dense and so monolithically slow that there is plenty of time for total immersion here. Thick vaults of dark lava creep along in swampy catacombs that lead straight to the heart of Nowheresville. Whereas so many exporters of this brand seem to approach the sound from a gloom metal standpoint, whose goal is ultimately either riffage or at least deliverance unto some demonic catharsis, Swamp Horse come at the sound from the opposite end. Nary a hint of relief can be found in the thickly painted bass drones, guitar crevices and synth textures that inhabit this psychedelic sinkhole as every sound is spread so far out that the sound waves themselves become apparent, if not all-consuming.
If anything taints the proceedings here, it is simply that there is not enough. Sure, the album’s brevity makes for a taut and effective release, but one can’t help but wish for a longer swim in these waters. The deep beckons, but at this pace it’ll take a while to get there. Hey, I’m willing to make the trip if Swamp Horse is. An encouraging morsel from a unit that definitely has its act together, and on the always killer 905 Tapes, to boot. Quite the combination indeed.