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Ancient Romans

Sun Araw

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Album Review

There's something amusing in the way Sun Araw starts his latest album with spooky yet also slightly goofy keyboard noodling rather than droning blasts or contemplative zone. Then again, if the record's titular theme is being followed, the former rulers of a good chunk of Europe, Asia, and Africa did like to party, and when the bass suddenly cuts in on "Lucretius" and begins to throb in a rhythm, it's like the underscoring of an "eat, drink and be merry" sentiment with the "for tomorrow you die" counterpoint. One of Sun Araw's longest efforts, the double-album equivalent Ancient Romans has tracks mostly hitting the ten-or-so-minute mark, Cameron Stallone out for extensive mind expansiveness in his own particular way. Throughout the album the sense is of rough experimentation, a kind of direct curiosity in the collision of sampled loops, echoed vocals, bursting bass, and random moments. Stallone's echoed vocals, however much a stylistic commonality in some corners, act as further random hooks, a slightly stupefied but never incoherent series of reactions. "At Delphi" brings in that sense of exaltation familiar from past Sun Araw releases, keyboards and open-ended guitar parts combining in a majestic but still murky collage, more pulsing bass and other sounds sliding in. "Implivium" transfers that exaltation to techno, an unexpected but not untoward turn; if it's definitely still Sun Araw in feel and approach, the use of steady beats and tighter arrangements gives a new context for those familiar sounds to thrive in. "Lute and Lyre," perhaps named for that reason, brings in a slow, silvery electric guitar twang over the slow-growing stew of noise, while calmer pieces like "Fit for Caesar" still embrace the sense of mystic wonder and curiosity, bass drumming and vocals slowly coalescing into a slow, easy groove along with the woozy swirl.

Biography

Born: Long Beach, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The working title of a project helmed by former Austinite and Magic Lantern member Cameron Stallones, Sun Araw has drawn compelling comparisons to such varied sources as Afro-beat, Neil Young, and Spacemen 3. As part of the communal label Not Not Fun, Sun Araw has released a number of well-received and continually groundbreaking full-lengths and singles, the first two of which — 2008's The Phynx and Beach Head — were psychedelic interpretations...
Full Bio
Ancient Romans, Sun Araw
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