Posts Tagged ‘A-Sun Amissa’

Gizeh Records / Consouling Sounds

13th September 2019

Christopher Nosnibor

A-Sun Amissa’s fifth album promises to build on ‘the foundations of previous record Ceremony in the Stillness (2018), incorporating some of the heavier, distorted, guitar oriented themes but this time fuses them with broken, crumbling electronic beats and primal drone movements’.

Perhaps one of the most impressive things about how Richard Knox has steered A-Sun Amissa in recent years has been his systematic approach to producing new output: following a gap of fur years between 2013’s You Stood Up for Victory, We Stood Up for Less and The Gatherer (2017), with the assistance of an array of collaborators, he’s released an album a year. This has likely proved integral to the steady evolution and the sense of progression across the last three albums. And this album being almost a completely solo effort (Knox wrote, recorded, and mixed the entire album, as well as providing the artwork) has really focused his energies on pushing himself in all directions across the album’s two longform compositions

The pieces on offer here are underpinned by vast ambient passages that are drenched in distortion and reverb, slowly unfurling before more industrial, kinetic sounds are introduced and heaving guitars come to the fore. As ever, there’s a melancholic dissonance that resonates throughout, repetition is key and moments of dread are paired with shafts of light as these two monolithic pieces unravel themselves over the course of forty minutes.

‘Seagreaves’ begins as a distant howl of dark, whirling noise, scraping, screeding, creating a dark, simmering tension and a sense of foreboding, of disquiet.When it fades out to be replaced by guitar, the atmosphere shifts from menacing to melancholy. There are hints of Neurosis, and also Earth Inferno era Fields of the Nephilim in the picked notes, gradually decaying in an organic reverb. The cyclical motif is pushed along by a plodding rhythm, forging a slow, lumbering groove that builds primarily through plain repetition. Petering out to almost nothing around the midpoint, we’re left with a vast, open and almost empty space. It’s around the sixteen-minute point that everything surges back in for a sustained crescendo, a cinematic post-metal climax that finds the guitars soar while the rhythm thunders low and slow.

‘Breath by Breath’ is subtler still, elongated drones and whispers of feedback echo as if a long way away, before a piano ripples somewhere on the horizon. The atmosphere isn’t strictly tense or even dark, but shadowy, and it’s difficult to attribute a specific sensation or mood to it. When the strolling bass and sedate percussion roll in, layers of metallic guitar noise filters in – quiet, backed off, but harsh. Voices echo from the underworld, almost subliminally. And then: a momentary pause. It’s barely a heartbeat, but everything crashes in with the driving yet deliberate force of Amenra. And from hereon in it’s incremental, but also cumulative in its growing volume and impact.

Knox describes For Burdened and Bright Light as ‘a more immersive, ambitious, adventurous record of conflicting emotions as the theme of the work tackles the contradictions of being human and explores the duality of light and dark, hope and despair’, and not only is the ambitiousness clear, but those ambitions are fulfilled. Dare I – once again – describe a work as ‘epic’? Yes: the scope of For Burdened and Bright Light is vast in every sense, and it does engage the listener’s senses and provokes contemplation through it’s shifting movements, moving not only between mods but also genre forms. The result is not only unique, but powerful and captivating, holding the attention and rewarding patience over the expansive pieces.

AA

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GIZEHFEST 2019 will have two very special editions, taking place in Eeklo, Belgium and Manchester, UK.

The inaugural Gizehfest launched in February 2018 as a special event in celebration of the labels diverse roster, bringing together a selection of artists involved with the label over the years. We are delighted to be able to push forward with this idea and take it to a new country and a wider audience. Gizeh is now well known for not being attracted to any one genre of music and we are proud to be able to bring together an assorted collection of the current roster for what promises to be a stunning evening of boundary-pushing sonic pleasure featuring one-off collaborations and exclusive performances.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS IN MANCHESTER

A-SUN AMISSA
A-Sun Amissa is a music collective founded and led by Richard Knox (The Eternal Return Arkestra, The Rustle of the Stars, Shield Patterns, Glissando) that has featured an array of members and collaborators since it’s formation in 2011. Their sound touches on elements of post-rock, doom, dark-jazz and drone. Recorded output has been released on Richard’s own Gizeh label as well as Belgium’s Consouling Sounds. A new album Ceremony in the Stillness was released in September – the projects most focused and structured output yet.
Dense and heavy atmospheres provide the backdrop to the sound. Layers of mournful, melancholic and ethereal melodies weave amongst the thundering beats and intense, heaving guitars.
The band has toured Europe several times and performed with the likes of Amenra, Nadja, Helen Money, Jozef Van Wissem, Jucifer and Telepathy.
Members and collaborators in the project include; Richard Knox (The Eternal Return Arkestra, Shield Patterns, The Rustle of the Stars, Glissando), Angela Chan (Tomorrow We Sail, Lanterns On The Lake, The Rustle of the Stars), Owen Pegg (Hundred Year Old Man), Claire Brentnall (Shield Patterns), David McLean (Gnod, Tombed Vision Records), Aidan Baker (Nadja), Colin H. van Eeckhout (Amenra), Gareth Davis (Merzbow, Oiseaux-Tempete), Frédéric D. Oberland (Oiseaux-Tempete, The Rustle of the Stars, FareWell Poetry, FOUDRE!), Aaron Martin, Christine Ott and Jo Quail. www.slowsecret.com


HUNDRED YEAR OLD MAN
A ferocious and immersive listening experience, delivering an epic, monolithic voyage through masses of atmosphere. Full of texture, depth, aggression and emotion, HYOM deliver a sound that is unique, crushing and mind-altering. Having gradually crept into the collective consciousness of the European post-metal scene, this Leeds-based collective is on an ascent that has gained an almost unstoppable momentum. Debut album Breaching was released in April and relentless touring in 2018 ensued including festival appearances at Bloodstock and Damnation.
https://hundredyearoldman.bandcamp.com

A.R.C. SOUNDTRACKS
A.R.C. Soundtracks is an audio/visual duo based in Manchester, UK. Marrying bleak drones, doomy beats and FX-heavy spoken-word to ritualistic visuals, they are an unsettling encounter. They have released via LCR and Sacred Tapes and a new album recorded at Islington Mill (home to GNOD etc) in Salford is out now via Gizeh Records‘ Dark Peak series (also home to Christine Ott, Aidan Baker & Claire Brentnall and A-Sun Amissa). Their current live show was premiered at London’s Cafe Oto in 2016 and works as a soundtrack to prepared visuals.
www.arcsoundtracks.bandcamp.com

AGING
Aging are a gloom heavy jazz band whose music unfurls as slowly as cigarette smoke. Directly inspired by Film Noir, Hardboiled Detective Fiction and the weepiest of Torch Songs, their sole purpose for making music is to make you cry into your drink and look stylish whilst doing it.
https://tombedvisionsrecords.bandcamp.com/album/suitable-for-night

Tickets are on sale, available here.

Gizehfest-2019-Web-Manchester

Consouling Sounds – 28th April 2017

The follow-up to 2013’s You Stood Up for Victory, We Stood Up for Less sees the instrumental collective formed in 2011 expand in both number and vision. For his outing, founder and leader Richard Knox (The Rustle of the Stars, Shield Patterns, Glissando) is joined by a veritable host of collaborators: Aidan Baker (Nadja), Claire Brentnall (Shield Patterns), Angela Chan (Tomorrow We Sail. Lanterns on the Lake), Aaron Martin (F rom the Mouth of the Sun), David McLean (Gnod, Tombed Vision Records), Frédéric D. Oberland (The Rustle of the Stars, Oiseaux Tempête, FareWell Poetry, FOUDRE!), Owen Pegg (Hundred Year Old Man), Colin H. Van Eeckhout (Amenra, CHVE). And this is very much a collaborative work, which has resulted in an album which is rich in texture and tone, and marks a stylistic evolution from its predecessor. The album’s four extended, exploratory tracks are as expansive in sonic terms as they are in duration. While the drones and field recordings which characterise much of the output associated with Knox, The Gatherer incorporates myriad elements besides.

The first, ‘Colossus Survives’, gradually unfurls from a delicate, semi-nebulous sonic cloud drift into a wavering, teetering free jazz excursion, a saxophone being given a full tonal workout while in the distance, thick, deliberate beats crunch and rumble before everything drifts away to leave a ponderous piano.

‘Anodyne Nights for Somnabulent Strangers’ brings an altogether more ominous atmosphere, elongated drones scrape sonorously through a murky fog. But this, like the other pieces on The Gatherer, is a composition built on a continual shift. There are lighter notes, but they’re tinged with uncertainty and a sense of unease: indefinable, yet subliminally present. Slow and crawling as it is, the sound isn’t static for an instant, and the vicious argument which features around the twelve-minute mark is unsettling: the music is barely there, and not all of the words audible, and one feels as though one shouldn’t be overhearing it. But at the same time, you sit, ear cocked, to try to decipher what the shouting is about. It ends abruptly, and dolorous chimes ring out.

‘Jason Molina’s Blues’ approximates a deconstructed jazz over a slow, flickering rumble, and paves the way for the heavy, warping drone of ‘The Recapitulation’. Developing from a low, slow rumble and ominous echoes, saxophones and drones collide and intertwine to conjure a mystical sonic spot which exists between light and dark. A crashing beat echoes into infinity while Colin H. van Eeckhout delivers haunting, humming vocals: the words are barely audible but the effect borders on the spiritual as this voice hangs in a cavernous cave of reverb while strings drape themselves mournfully over the heavy air.

The Gatherer is by no means an easy or accessible album. But in its questing for new terrain, and its subtle sonic diversity, it’s an album which warrants time to embed.