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Deep In Ocean Sunk the Lamp

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Album Review

The debut album from the internationalist ambient-noise-metal-drone trio Aethenor consists of four untitled pieces, the first two over ten minutes each, the last two around five. The album was pieced together from a series of off-the-cuff improvisations recorded by Sunn 0)))'s guitarist Stephen O'Malley and Shora's keyboardist and electronics mastermind Vincent de Roguin in their downtime during a shared European tour, then formed into an amorphous whole by the duo plus Guapo's Daniel O'Sullivan (contributing Fender Rhodes electric piano and percussion) during a single night's worth of collective improvisations incorporating the earlier tapes. Impressively, Deep in Ocean Sunk the Lamp of Light doesn't particularly sound like the main band of any of the trio's three members, but the formless drones and scrapes of the first two tracks are going to be tough sledding for any but the most devoted fans of post-rock free improvisation: they do a remarkable job of creating an oppressive, dark atmosphere, but once that's settled, they don't do anything particularly interesting with it. Encouragingly, the album picks up considerably on the two shorter pieces, the first of which features a moody, somber Fender Rhodes improvisation by O'Sullivan that also makes good sonic use of carefully deployed static and some gentle effects pedal work by O'Malley. The final section overlays various overtones, harmonics, and electronically generated drones into an ever-shifting miasma that maintains the foreboding atmosphere of the album's first two pieces while incorporating some of the quiet beauty of the third, before climaxing in the album's final two minutes with a mournful but lovely music box-like melody played by O'Sullivan. Some may think that's a long way to go for such a short payoff, but careful listening reveals Deep in Ocean Sunk the Lamp of Light to be an elegantly constructed piece. It's just that most listeners will usually skip ahead to the far more immediately appealing final third instead of listening to the whole thing each time.


Formed: 2003 in Geneva, Switzerland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Ambient sludge metal supergroup Aethenor consist of members of the deafening American duo Sunn 0))), British Rock in Opposition-associated act Guapo, and Swiss trance merchants Shora, crossing both international and musical boundaries. The project started in 2003, when Sunn 0)))'s guitarist Stephen O'Malley and Shora's keyboardist and electronics mastermind Vincent de Roguin started spending their down time during a shared European tour making spur-of-the-moment improvisational recordings in hotel...
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Deep In Ocean Sunk the Lamp, Aethenor
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