Faith Coloccia and Alex Barnett return to Blackest Ever Black with their second duo album, Weld. Working with synthesizers, affected vocals, raw electrical noise, field recordings, EVP techniques, tape manipulation and drum machines, Barnett + Coloccia’s special facility with the interpenetrating mechanisms of time, space and tone yields a music at once lucid and mystic.
The songs on Weld embody a series of experiential philosophies and objectives: searching for the sacred in the forgotten and supposedly useless; exploring the meaning of “natural”; listening for the pulse of the ancient; using technology both to materialise memory and to dream a folklore for a future age.
Weld ‘s sonic ambition is evident early on: within fifteen minutes it has transported us from the stately, medievalist keyboard/choral poetics of ‘Truth Teller’, through the agitated wormhole techno of ‘Dreamsnake’ (preview left), to the white light-emitting, near-symphonic plainchant of ‘Healer’. As these pieces’ titles suggest, this is an album steeped in myth and ideas of personhood that are pre-modern, or at least exist outside of modernity. Accordingly, Coloccia and Barnett’s high-fidelity compositions and edits are alchemical, upsetting obvious chronologies of change: ‘Blight’’s zero-hour synth pulsations are first interrupted, then engulfed, by an extra-terrestrial broadcast of piercing bell and glass-tones; ‘AM Horizon’ is pitched bewitchingly between Prophet-5 pulp futurism and earthbound, atavistic dread; ‘Agate Cross’’s baroque harmonic sequence disintegrates at its very climax, cooling and dissipating into a deep starfield of pure tone. ‘Ash Grove’ and ‘Rose Eye’ are exhilarating exercises in contemporary musique concrète: complex timbral constructs in which Coloccia’s disembodied glossolalia, swooping strings and other nameless spectra conspire to evoke extra-dimensional space and the highest spiritual drama.
Weld speaks its own distinctive dream-language, but we would certainly recommend it to anyone enamoured of the brittle sci-fi synth-scapes in Caroline K’s Now Wait For Last Year, the amorphous electronics of Beatriz Ferreyra’s recent work, Conrad Schnitzler’s more gothic moments, and even the graver metaphysical reckonings of a Stockhausen or a Rozmann.
The album was created in two environments. The core of each song was recorded live, as a duet, at Psychic Western studio in Los Angeles; processing and overdubs were then applied on Vashon Island, WA, with one member performing and the other affecting the performance. As with its predecessor, 2013’s Retrieval, Randall Dunn (Earth, Sunn O))), Master Musicians of Bukkake) was key to Weld’s realisation, with his surgical attention to mixing and creative approach to effects. Mastered separately for vinyl and digital by James Plotkin, there is an absolute clarity to Weld‘s sound that is startling – its surfaces are as pristine as its depths are fathomless.
Due to be released in late May 2015, it is available to pre-order now.