Growing The Sky’s Run Into the Sea

[Kranky; 2003]

Rating: 3/5

Styles: drone, ambient, musique concrète, experimental, psych
Others: Adam Forkner, Tangerine Dream, Nadja, Tyondai Braxton, Sunn 0)))


Ah, we have a spacious one. From the first intonations of this record, you know you're in for a deep, dark, and daunting musical spell. "A Painting" ushers in a slow spin of dread as it drones relentlessly, showing no signs of changing course. In a lot of ways, it's like the quiet between the bursts of bloodspittled howling in a longer Swans song. Right away it's clear: you either hold out for a payoff, or you turn back. The way Growing sets things up, this is the ideal soundtrack for when you're half-asleep on the floor while the music's getting under your skin, but you're too paralyzed to get up and change the CD.

Growing is both monolithic death and the calm before the storm. Perhaps the musicians involved don't hate you, but they do put your wits on end with their Black Lodge-soundtrack-on-overdrive barrage. By the time the guitars chime in for the opening number, we are ready for a song proper. But the chimes instead fall away to be replaced by a minute of this chugging Bardo Pond-style riff that, after gently turning acoustic, ends the track.

Okay. First track and I'm already intimidated by the girth of what a first-impression might consider as vaporous music, while closer attention shows it as an astounding avalanche of plate shifting cascades. So this is what it must have felt like reviewing Beaches & Canyons. So much pulsing space yet such uncanny resonance and subliminal power. Daunting isn't the word for it.

I'd recommend this album for those rare nights when you're running around the ruins in Pompeii with three friends and a bottle of Whiskey. You're all on mescaline that you bought from the shadiest looking guy in the alleyway, and it might not even be mescaline, but you feel like alabaster-chested gods. The moon is four shades brighter than it should be, and your best friend is upending himself on a lone spire so that his feet eclipse the moon, and it feels like a giant sheet of darkness has sprung on the whole of your perception. When your friend lands laughing on the ground, the moonlight shoots into your every pore and vibrates till your marrow is heated into a thickly flowing second blood.

In other words, The Sky's Run Into the Sea is for those of you who like a little bit of an album experience to contrast with more gratifying passive entertainments. I would never throw on "that kickin Growing album" any old time. This is music to steamroll you, like so much wet cement. Not much to grab onto, so just let it submerge you in its dense debris and try not to cry when it's over. Parents strongly cautioned: may cause slow descent into drug addiction and smug depression.    

1. A Painting
2. Tepsihe (All Music Is Folk Music)
3. Cutting, Opening, Swimming
4. Southern Rites
5. Pavement Rich in Gold

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