The noise world is a funny place sometimes. In the time it’s taken me to check out Crowhurst’s album Death Van, the prolific group has already released two other records in the last month in addition to the numerous releases the band has had in the last year. In many circumstances, this level of productivity in the noise genre may reek of quantity over quality, but for the most part, Crowhurst has created an impressively varied catalog. Part of this may be the result of the project’s lone consistent member Jay Gambit’s approach to recording/composing. Crowhurst is not structured as a band nor a solo project but instead as a consistently evolving collaborative collective. In this way, Gambit’s role as a band leader is more along the lines of 70s Miles Davis. A lot of musicians get together and collaborate, but the end product is ultimately dictated by one individual.
Death Van finds Gambit working with a dozen different musicians (including members of Black Leather Jesus among others) across seven tracks. In other hands, this could easily result in unmitigated chaos, but Gambit manages to make these collaborative pieces sound like the work of one man rather than several. Even the non-electronic instrumentation/sounds are delicately stitched together to create monolithic drones that are constantly shifted and warped on each track. It’s dark brooding stuff that’s reminiscent of sunn 0))), Peter Rehberg, and even Tim Hecker at times. It may appear to be an immense album of sinister ambience, but it’s surprisingly welcoming in the same way that Gambit’s collaborative process appears to be.