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Earth with All Night and Ada

Wednesday, August 10 2016

Earth was formed in Olympia, Washington in 1989 by Dylan Carlson and has featured an ever-evolving line up including Slim Moon (Kill Rock Stars founder), Joe Preston (Melvins) and many others. After moving to Seattle and signing to Sub Pop in 1990 they would release 3 full lengths and an EP. Their album Earth 2 is considered by many a definitive statement of drone, while others have described it as “the inevitable result of the damage done by downers to perception of time”. Whichever the case, its influence is undeniable. Without its model, bands like Sunn 0))) and may others simply would not exist. 

In 1996, they recorded their final Sub Pop LP Pentastar (In The Style of Demons) in an abandoned Colt 45 factory. After its release the “group” went on a six year hiatus. 

In 2002, Earth returned with the addition of Adrienne Davies on drums, unveiling a new, cleaner, sparser, and more improvisational style. In September 2005, Earth released their first studio album in nine years, diversifying their sound and pushing all perceived boundaries. With Hex; or Printing in the Infernal Method,  Earth create a intense, powerful album that defies restrictions of genre. The monolithic darkness of previous releases such as “Earth 2” is still apparent, although now with a shift away from saturated and distorted guitar tones. Using compression, echo, tremelo, and reverb, they developed a “Black Americana” sound, reminiscent of an immense desert landscape at dusk. It is a sound that draws on the influence of Duane Eddy, Merle Haggard & Roy Buchanan and fuses it with the vibe of visionary composer Ennio Morricone. Beautifully darkened, huge chords that resonate slowly while every single note is played with a precise conviction.

Where Hex reveled in dark satanic twang and austere american beauty, 2008’s “he Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull finds Dylan Carlson and the band growing into a harder, more rock, American Gospel and impovisitory direction framed by truly psychedelic production and blazing guitar sounds. Earth shows it’s affinity to the more adventurous San Francisco bands of the late 60’s and 70’s, and the more spiritually aware and exciting forms of Jazz-Rock from the same era.

The most recent records Angels Of Darkness, Demons of Light – parts 1& 2 (2010 and 2011 respectively) serve as testament to the fact that they have come a long way since 1989. Drawing on inspiration from both British folk-rock bands Pentangle and Fairport Convention and the North African Tuareg band Tinariwen, the new material, while still “heavy” is much more fluid and melodically oriented, more textured and nuanced. It contains greater improvisatory interplay between the musicians. On one hand they acknowledge previous recordings, cultivating the jazz infused Americana presented on “The Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull” and on the other, there are significant changes which give birth to yet another new sound. The addition of cello, though subtle at times, adds a more haunting tone to the repetition throughout. Though such repetition may, at times, seem simplistic, there is absolutely nothing simple about holding a note as long as Earth do. 

“The ongoing musical project which is Earth has always been concerned with repetition and the drone or THE NOTE. When I was younger and full of hubris I believed that a “pure” or “original” music could be developed in a static and removed state from other music. I now realize that music, especially music containing the drone or THE NOTE, and music that effects a spiritual reaction from the listener is a continuum. It is a music that has continued throughout time and manifested itself in a number of different forms or “genres” or “styles”. I began to see my music as part of and a product of that continuum. I also began to see that continuum strongly expressed in historically ‘american’ forms. Specifically the “genres” of “country” and “blues”. The truly ‘cosmic american musics’.”
Dylan Carlson, Summer 2005

Joining Earth, will be Portland’s own stalwarts of doom and drone, All Night (featuring members of Conifer, Ocean, and Lynx) and road-worn gothic-folkies, Ada (formerly known as Butcher Boy).

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