So I’ve been hearing about Sunn 0))) for some time. I think I first saw the strange symbols of the name on Warren Ellis’ White Chapel forum (connected to his Freak Angels web comic page) where all manner of cool folk go to talk about interesting stuff and exchange ideas. Following repeated references to the group’s legendary live shows that apparently often leave audience members disorientated and nauseous from the ‘Massive, unchecked Sound waves’ I became intrigued. I checked them out somewhere on the web late last year – dug what I heard but of course, that kind of sonic madness can never be duplicated on a recording. I jotted down a ‘Buy Eventually…’ note and placed it into whatever strange place I put these things that so often go missing and alas have not followed up.
Recently while reading an issue of Wire magazine* I found a really good article/interview with Sunn 0))) and I was immediately moved to stop stalling and give the guys my money. Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley, the two core members of the group and their collaborators spoke of ‘bathing in sound waves’ and orchestrating the ‘timbres of feedback’. They spoke of influences ranging from Celtic Frost to John Coltrane to Sun Ra. As you might imagine it was about this time that I began making plans to take a pilgrimage to Amoeba music in Hollywood, the only brick and mortar record store I knew without a doubt would stock something like this.** Then I turned a few pages and saw a half page ad by SOUTHERN LORD records that featured a live Vinyl-only album by Sunn 0))) called Dâˆ…MKIRKE recorded in the ancient Bergen Cathedral in Bergen, Norway last year. Domkirke features the aforementioned O’Malley and Anderson on heavily amped, totally saturated guitars, along with Attila Csihar (Mayhem) on vocals (not growling vocals either – think Satanic ritual here), Lasse Marhaug on electronics and, ready for it? Steve Moore of EARTH on the church’s legendary pipe organ.
Yes, the church’s legendary, ancient pipe organ. Now how could I pass this up?
Then on top of all this excitement I’m already losing control over I go to the Southern Lord website figuring this double vinyl will cost a minimum of around $30 but you know what? $17.99.
Yeah, I know.
So the record arrived yesterday and I’ve been listening to it for the better part of 24 hours. Domkirke has made me a confirmed Sunn 0))) fan. Four sides, four tracks, or perhaps more appropriately ‘movements’ as the pieces seem to swirl and merge together, evolving into something that is, as a whole, ethereal and awesome – the kind of record you want to smoke bongs and read about Black Magick to. Or better yet find a way to make a copy of for the car and keep on hand for the off chance you find yourself on the way to some foreign Count’s castle, driving through mountain fog in the dark on a moonless night. Okay, I’m getting a little giddy here but seriously, Domkirke is an atmospheric masterpiece at a steal and I can only say if any of this intrigues you at all go buy it now before it’s limited press runs out. And while you do that I’ll continue to plot my next Amoeba visit that may very well result in the rest of this group’s catalogue (or at least as much of it as I can afford).
* Which is, from what I can tell, the only real music magazine left. I
mean, there are literally pages and pages of text, not page after page
of nice glossy pictures of the douche bag of the week.
** Amoeba is not the kind of store you just drive to in order to pick up a spur of the moment album. When you walk into Amoeba you will spend A LOT of money, so you really have to tread cautiously. I’m prone to having my arms full before even making it past the end caps near the front of the store. They have EVERYTHING. Think I’m kidding? If anyone out there knows of a group called IN SLAUGHTER NATIVES you will know how hard their records are usually ridiculously hard to find. I had to order SANCROSANCTS BLEED from fucking Belgium for fook’s sake! Well first time I went to Amoeba I get all impressed by their selection but I’m like, ‘Hey, let’s put this to the test’. Sure enough, EVERY album ISN ever recorded. Incidentally, this In Slaughter Natives test has become my barometer for amazing record stores the way my Old Crow whiskey test is my barometer for dive bars. You find a record store with ISN start looking for the really hard to find shit (that disappears on those goddamn jottings!) – if you find a bar that has Old Crow get hammered, pull your pants down and scream at the top of your lungs FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK, WE SALUTE YOU!!!