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Firmament II

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Album Review

Taking and running with its predilection for utterly avant-garde approaches to rock, as well as lengthy, open-ended compositions, Main continues the series of Firmament release with its most compelling release to that time. Though only consisting of two nearly half-hour long tracks, "IX" and "X," continuing that particular series of numbered songs, both succeed as fascinating examples of guitar reinvention, constantly shifting and changing as they go. "IX" starts with strange, echoing rhythms (apparently solely guitar created, as seems to always be the case with the band) before turning into a series of up and down notes and further odd pulses. After a sudden silence, a newer series of feedback shimmers starts, then turns into a moody wash with odd scribbling noises around the edges. Strange squeals herald a rumbling background of distortion and looped feedback scratches that builds into a lengthy drone, fading into hissing, guitar ringing and almost liquid noises before ending the track. "X" takes a similarly winding path, starting quietly then turning into more ominous background rumbles and loops and seemingly disconnected, free-floating sounds of feedback and riff chunks. This slowly changes into a more upfront sequence of layered noise, from the gentle to the not-so-much, before quieting and turning into a more soothing hum of reverb and a slow, mantralike loop of noise, with odd stabs of trebly feedback lurking deep in the mix, all of which changes in various low-key ways before concluding. Striking and at times quite, quite beautiful in an alien way, Firmament II is Main at its challenging best.


Formed: 1991 in Croydon, London, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Upon the 1991 dissolution of the British trance-rock quartet Loop, bassist Neil McKay and John Wills formed the Hair and Skin Trading Company, leaving guitarists Robert Hampson and Scott Dawson to found the highly experimental Main, a project combining the aesthetics of ambient music with layered tapestries of droning electric guitar textures and dark, ominous soundscapes. Main's debut EP releases, 1991's Hydra and 1992's Calm -- later collected as the Hydra-Calm LP -- were their most aggressive,...
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Firmament II, Main
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