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EARTH - Hibernaculum

Format: CD & DVD
Label & Cat.Number: Southern Lord SUNN74
Release Year: 2007
Note: incl. film by SELDON HUNT "within the drone" on the DVD !
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €18.00

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"Hibernaculum' is a very special CD and DVD package release from avant-experimental drone innovators Earth. The audio material consists of new recordings of three old Earth classics redone in a different, stark and clean tone, plus the track A Plague of Angels which was previously available on a rare tour-only split 12 inch with Sunn0))). The video material (on a second disc) is an Earth documentary filmed by Seldon Hunt. The documentary features interviews with Dylan Carlson and live footage from the group's 2006 European tour. It is the first time ever that footage of Dylan Carlson and Earth has been released since the resurrection of the group. Detailed insight into the process of the band as well as candid, intimate conversations are captured in the film. The lineup assembled by Dylan Carlson for this album compliments the aesthetic and direction perfectly. Adrienne Davies who brought a patient, consistent and complimentary rhythm and percussion to the 'Hex' album is again behind the drum kit. Don Mcgreevy and Jonas Haskins provide bass support. Steve Moore assists on keyboards and horns. Greg Anderson (Sunn 0)))/Thorr's Hammer/Goatsnake adds subsonics via analogue synth on Ouroboros is Broken and Coda Maestoso in F (Flat) Minor. As with 'Hex', 'Hibernaculum' is focused and precise yet the heavy darkness remains unbroken." [label info]

"When rumors circulated in 2002 that Earth, the legendary Seattle drone-metal group, was re-emerging after a long hiatus, a legion of followers was duly stoked. Though the band's resonating torch had been carried forward by groups such as Sleep and Sunn0))), to diehards only Dylan Carlson held the master key to the eternal metal chord.

The anticipation was rewarded: Following a few releases hinting at new directions, 2005's Hex, or Printing in the Infernal Method was a true rebirth. Filled with lonesome tunes built around Carlson's clean, twangy guitar, the album painted pictures of windy ghost towns and moon-lit deserts, and owed as much to post-rock and country as metal and drone. Many songs evoked the cinematic instrumentals of Slint or Mogwai, but with Carlson's gift for Zen-like patience. No crescendos, flourishes, or denouements: Just simple guitar marching towards an infinite horizon.

Hibernaculum is Earth's first release since then, but it's not a follow-up as much as a history lesson told through the prism of Hex. It includes a four-track CD with three old Earth tunes redone in the Hex style, and a DVD documenting the band's post-Hex European tour. Musically, it might not quite match its predecessor, but as an updated retelling of the Earth tale, Hibernaculum is fascinating.

The first two cuts on the CD are the most interesting. "Ouroboros Is Broken" began life as an 18-minute track on Earth's 1991 debut Extra-Capsular Extraction, a post-Sabbath growler full of fuzzy chords and machine-like drumbeats. Hibernaculum's eight-minute version is slower and dreamier, with Carlson's "canyon bends" shadowed nicely by the shuddering bass of Don McGreevy and quaking Korg of Sunn0)))'s Greg Anderson.

Track two takes on "Coda Maestoso in F (Flat) Minor", a catchy rocker from Earth's 1996 "pop" album Pentastar: In the Style of Demons. Slowed to a glacial pace, the song becomes a desert mirage, turning each corner a few steps later than expected. Temporal illusion has long been a Carlson specialty, and here his frozen guitar web seems to hang in the air, eventually shining with the dewy gleam of Steve Moore's ringing piano. Throughout, Earth refuses to build to a climax or speed to a rush, wisely trusting that patience will be its own reward.

A similar minimalism marks Seldon Hunt's Within the Drone, a tour documentary shot last spring. Mixing Carlson's subdued musings with hypnotic live footage, the film never hurries or jumps, allowing Earth's music to speak for itself. Particularly clever is Hunt's choice to cut to different performances of the same song, making the tour feel like one long composition. Carlson's bites offer a few nice revelations-- an obsession with LaMonte Young, an abandoned follow-up to Pentastar that would've included horn and string sections-- but his best lines are as simple as his best songs. "If you're gonna do slow and simple," he says in his wizened stoner drawl. "It doesn't get much slower and simpler than the drone."
[Marc Masters, March 27, 2007 / Pitchfork]