Earth: "Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1" CD Review // Show at Le Poisson Rouge on June 16th ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Friday, March 11, 2011

Earth: "Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1" CD Review // Show at Le Poisson Rouge on June 16th

Earth: 'Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1' CD Review // Show at Le Poisson Rouge on June 16th Ambient/minimalist band Earth released their third post-reformation studio disc, Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light 1, on Southern Lord at the end of last month. Joining founding guitarist and band frontman Dylan Carlson and percussionist Adrienne Davies, the album lineup this time around also includes cellist Lori Goldston (Nirvana, David Byrne, Black Cat Orchestra, Laura Veirs) and Karl Blau (K Records, Laura Veirs, Microphones) on electric bass.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Adrienne Davies back in January and one of the things she talked about was the new members of Earth. (click here for the full interview)

Adrienne: "We are kind of going through a transition because Steve Moore and Don McGreevy weren't going to be able to do the album. Dylan and I had been playing with Lori Goldston who plays cello. She is very, very musically adept and has a wide variety of influences, especially experimental. She doesn't play classical which is so great about her and she can play an electrical instrument. We had her come in and knew from the start that we were going to work with her. When you first think about trombone or cello, it is such a distinctive instrument, you kind of go 'can we have this on every song throughout a whole album or is it going to be too much?' Both Steve Moore and Lori are able to play one instrument without it ever becoming 'oh man - that is way too much cello or way too much trombone'. They can kind of lay low with it or pull it out and that is essential to making it work.

Karl Blau is on bass - he is not actually going to be touring with us because he is doing his own thing but he is phenomenal on the album. He is everything that I love about a bass player."

Angels of Darkness sounds like a logical extension of the musical direction Earth has been heading in over the past few post-reformation albums though the music on this new disc is darker and has more of a riff-driven sound than I remember on past albums. Lori Goldston wraps and intertwines cello parts around each of the songs (and specifically Carlson’s guitar lines) which add a melancholy color to Earth’s arid musical landscape.

The disc’s five tracks span just over sixty minutes and the leadoff track, “Old Black”, sets the tone for the trance-inducing melancholia of the rest of the disc. Each of the songs has their stand-out moments but this disc comes across as a single 60-minute body of work rather than five discrete songs. There is an innate darkness to this disc which is somewhat tempered by an openness and warmth that is carried over from previous discs. Carlson plays his slow riffs and drawn-out notes with a precision that most guitar players would kill for and he is matched by Davies’ subtly precise drumming. The "spaces" in the guitar and drum parts are held together by Blau’s underpinning bass lines which add a deeper bottom-end than heard on past releases and Goldston’s cello twisting and weaving on top of the mix. The strongest track on this release is the twenty minute title track which in anchored by Blau’s bassline and Blau and Goldston intertwine with Carlson’s riffs to build a sense of anticipation not heard on other songs.

Earth are playing Le Poisson Rogue on June 16th along with Ô Paon. Tickets are $15 and go on-sale on March 18th at noon.