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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Common Eider, King Eider Yearn (2022)

We are here in the kingdom of a dark ambient music with ambiences mixed between fright and enchantment

1 I 5:11

2 II 8:56

3 III 6:25

4 IV 9:36

5 V 10:12

(Vinyl/CD/DDL 40:25) (V.F.)

(Dark Ritual Ambient)

Every now and then, I receive CDs that go beyond the framework of the blog. Like this YEARN from a group of American bards, from the San Francisco area, who are adepts of a dark ambient music with an electro-acoustic dimension. Rob Fisk, Andee Connors, Andrew Weathers and Blaan Tod are the sonic illusionists who make up this fascinating band called Common Eider, King Eider. This is their 13th album. And according to Cyclic Law's press guide, this is the band's second album to be released on the label from France, the music on this album is driven by conventional instruments like voices, viola and percussions. But there are also instruments for the least cabalistic as bones and woods that the members rub in order to give this texture of paranormal to the atmospheres of their music. The synth? The quartet exploits more the effects of drones. The sequences? Forget it, there is none! Its highly cinematic Dark Ambient texture has its place here as much as some works of Forrest Fang or Shane Morris & Frore. We are here in the kingdom of a dark music, almost secret, with ambiences mixed between fright and enchantment that one can easily imagine hearing during a seance of Spiritism. And the title YEARN is very appropriate, since the 5 movements which compose the album develop in a slowness which gives itself the time to invite the spectres of your houses in its mystical ambiences.

Yearn I invites our ears to this fascinating electro-acoustic ode with the strings of a viola stretching its harsh laments. The layer that emerges spits a sonic drizzle eroded by the slow adynamic movement of a heavy hand. What sounds like a metallic violin invites itself into the indecisive heaviness of the movement, creating an improbable duet that hums, cries and moans until the silence kills the bitterness. Yet it is from this same silence that the strings adjust their sadness in the opening of Yearn II. Already, the tone is less obscure with a sibylline glow that radiates an occult paleness. Beatings of percussions carve an arrhythmic procession, setting the right mood for a dark voice that counterbalances the faint nitescence of the metallic murmur of strings that seem to be caressed with a strange passion. The murmurs of voices spread an obituary air over the rhythm that is destined to be lifeless until the percussions shake up the moods, pushing Yearn II into the borders of a satanic punk-rock. Cymbals add venom to the deafening crescendo as the percussion hammers out a slow rhythm that crumbles under the weight of the arrangements. And besides, these arrangements are howling to make me lose the reason in an infernal descent made in a powerful din, forcing me to decrease the sound volume. Here is an intense infernal phase which has put lead in my eardrums over a distance of some 150 seconds. Yearn III takes us into a mephistophelic atmospheric phase. The movement is dark and apathetic with waves of buzzes and of industrial hums from which emerge Luciferian trumpeting. Or is it the dysphonic singing of a choir of spectres with voices caramelized by the honey of fright? At times, it sounds like it and it's like wandering in a long corridor of death imagined in a music of supernatural dimensions.

There is a surprising ethereal sweetness to the opening of Yearn IV. Waves of synth and voice weave an airy, almost elegiac melody that a violin comes in and caresses with an air that is both sinister and maudlin. Its slow back and forth movement insists on our emotions, leaving a level of lyricism in our ears. Brassy drones invite themselves to this ceremony for lonely souls, amplifying even more the degree of melancholy that overflows from our sensibility already tested in this YEARN. It must be said that the delicate and dreamy textures of humming voices, as well as the whispers of a woman's soul lost in limbo, have enough to stir the threshold of these emotions. The intensity builds to a dark crescendo and carries Yearn IV into a second half as thunderous as the final moments of Yearn II. Even though YEARN's music points to an abysmal darkness, the sinister side of these atmospheres has rarely been discussed in the album up until Yearn V makes hear the metallic weeping of the viola strings crumbles over the trot of a horse carrying a dead man on its carcass. A woman's voice whispers, in French, in this supernatural setting that reminds me of Tim Burton's gothic film, Sleepy Hollow. If the first minutes, almost 5, of Yearn V are spent in a structure without rhythmic life, it is quite the opposite when the percussions burst with fracas around the 5th minute. The movement is violent, a latent violence, in these bursts of percussions which hammer the pace of an illuminated mind turning in circle until losing the reason. That is to say a few seconds after the 7th minute. Synth waves softly pushed unite with glimmers of not quite defined voices in a sweet finale that compensates for the violence of these two finales that had this gift to question the necessity to continue my discovery of YEARN. And it's a good thing I didn't listen to myself, because I would have missed the find of an album whose mysticism has a fascinating scent of black poetry.

Sylvain Lupari (December 13th, 2022) *****

Available at Cyclic Law Bandcamp

(NB: The texts in blue are links you can click on)

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