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 rooms and other locations. After the tour was over, de Roguin and O'Malley convened in de Roguin's home base of Geneva with Guapo's Daniel O'Sullivan (also a touring member of Sunn 0)))) to shape the tour recordings into a finished project. With O'Sullivan contributing Fender Rhodes electric piano (an instrument more closely associated with 1970s jazz fusion than post-millennial avant rock) and percussion, the trio recorded a series of improvisations in a single night and combined them with the earlier tapes to create the four-part, half-hour Deep in Ocean Sunk the Lamp of Light. O'Sullivan also contributed the album title, a quote from the Iliad, as well as the band name, a portmanteau of the words "aether," the ancient Greek concept of the space above the earth inhabited by the gods, and "Athanor," the name of the furnace in the myth of the alchemists. After the release of Deep in Ocean Sunk the Lamp of Light on the San Francisco indie VHF Records in 2006, Aethenor recorded two follow-up albums during an all-night session in Geneva, supposedly recorded inside a working meat locker, so that the cold would affect both the players and their instruments. Betimes Black Cloudmasses, released in April 2008, features guest vocals from Ulver's Kristoffer Rygg and free improv drummers Alex Babel and Nicolas Field on its three lengthy untitled tracks; the third album, scheduled for the fall of 2008, features vocal and instrumental contributions by David Tibet of Current 93. ~ Stewart Mason

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