Mssrs. Caminiti and Porras, San Francisco’s finest Creatures of the Mist, purveyors of drones of the desert-scorched and mind-altering variety, return to your turntable on April 16 when Thrill Jockey releases V, the duo’s fifth full-length album (omitting their earliest CD-Rs from discographical roman-numeration). At first, I planned on using some snappy phrase like “Barn Owl unsheathe their guitars” or “dust off their synths” or “fire up their Line6 DL-4s,” but if these two humans’ recent string of fully realized solo works and collaborations is any indicator, their gear has remained unsheathed, dust-free, and fired up for quite some time now. I imagine they’re working on their next releases, solo and together and with other loved ones, right now as I write this. Perhaps they’re standing a few feet away from each other on a bluff, their boots sunk into the mud, gazing out over the bay as the sun inches slowly upward into a plume of graying cumulonimbus. (This counts as “working on their next releases” on some level.)
“The Long Shadow,” our first taste of V, hits all the Barn Owl sweet spots: clean-toned guitars chime, reverberate, and loop back to do it again; a cloud of delay-bleached organ hangs over the mix, coming back to Earth to slip a four-chord progression into the murk; pedals click on and the guitar tone splinters into that overdriven howl we know and love. Something’s new here, though: the mix is denser than previous Owl offerings. As more synth layers accumulate and absorb the duo’s previously looped tones into one mammoth, pulsing swirl, these 5 minutes stretch into what feels like 15.
Pre-order V today from Thrill Jockey. Dust off your favorite armchair and settle in for the wait: when 40-some suns have set, the LP will be at your door.