Archive for the ‘Locrian’ Category

Locrian — Infinite Dissolution

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

As evidence of biological catastrophe piles up, obtained from rigorous analysis over time, the staunchest denizens adherent to the “righteousness” of the capitalist ideology and the myths of social Darwinism carry on with the adamant spirit of a suicide mission. Much like Hirschbiegel’s Nazi aristocracy psychopathically carousing around their host Eva Braun inside a locked down ballroom crumbling under crescendos of artillery and airborne death, the detrimental impact of the evolution of humanity’s way of life is ignored in spite of its increasing obviousness. Scientists and other researchers, whose entire professional lives are devoted to building an expert discourse on the follies that accompany our present trajectory, this arc of extinction, have been ignored, then ridiculed, then accused of some kind of traitorous agenda. The conclusions of insight then shift to whether it is now too late to turn back, whether today’s younger generations are now the ones who have already fallen over the precipice. This question of whether hope still exists or it has been forever lost is, in part, the subject of the powerful and frightening book The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by journalist Elizabeth Kolbert.

Far beneath the surface of the mainstream, there are those amongst the creative who have reflected this consciousness of terminal decay and a view of what is responsible for it. More recently, some of the music — for lack of a better word — “inspired” by the gravity of the ground rushing up to meet life’s fall has taken on a magnified grimness. It is being written by those who can palpably detect that end times are not tales of angels, trumpets, of wars fought between gods and monsters, but something real, imminent, and driven by the mundane and destructive side of human behaviour. Inspired by these qualities explored in Kolbert’s book, the trio called Locrian has produced an astounding concept album for their latest release through Relapse Records, Infinite Dissolution.

The album’s title beautifully expresses contradiction, that characteristic of humanity detailed in The Sixth Extinction, where resourcefulness and concern can have unavoidable consequences, let alone the obvious detriment callousness and ignorance may wreak upon the environment. This conclusion was also apparent in Laurie Garrett’s The Coming Plague, which highlighted how even those actions undertaken with the spirit of benevolence and a constructive goal can potentially bring about catastrophic and extinguishing microbiological events. Humanity, and its ecological significance, is complex. Infinite Dissolution reflects this commendably through its wealth of stylistic inspiration, seemingly untouchable by genre and classifiable only in terms of emotional dynamics.

Locrian’s catalogue assembled in the ten years of their existence to date is as prolific as you could find. Fans of the band have never been short on the wonderfully inventive music they create to enjoy. The bulk of it beyond their inception came through DIY and smaller boutique label endeavours, and was characterized by more loose and improvisation-driven qualities. With their first release on Relapse in 2013, and now Infinite Dissolution, there is the sense of more structure creeping in to the albums. This does nothing to detract from, as the band themselves describe it, the vast “cinematic” quality of their music. Infinite Dissolution represents structure bringing refinement to their creative efforts.

Like others writing of the apocalypse of late, the contrasts and changes within Infinite Dissolution are thoughtfully put together so as to flow rather than distract or jar the listener out of the headspace the record aims for. There could be many pitfalls for bringing together noise, ambient, drone, post-rock, industrial, and sonic inspirations from black metal. Such hazards are never apparent, navigated fluently by Locrian’s awesome ability to summon emotive and enveloping atmosphere to tell this story. Each sound enhances the drama of what is taking place, transcendent and symphonic in painting the walls of this demarcative monument to visions of extinction. It is in this quality that the importance of the electronic components of Infinite Dissolution cannot be understated, to contradict their adroit subtlety. This is particularly apparent when set amongst the more explosive guitar-blazing and metallic passages of the album.

Locrian’s past work has been a wonderful and cerebral gift, but Infinite Dissolution is undoubtedly their best music to date. These musicians have brought together their truly broad love of musical styles and deep commitment to crafting art of beauty, depth, and powerfully stirring intent to produce music that matches the gravity and scope of the apocalyptic literature that inspired it. From the cataclysmic and ominous dystopian expectation of its beginnings, to its final moments filled with hope and tragedy, Infinite Dissolution will blow you away with its depiction of the extinguishment of an ornate and wondrous biosphere.

Infinite Dissolution is out now through Relapse Records.