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Transmission
« Booty Up Atavistic Records - A Survey of Old and New Dreams »

Album Wed Jul 23 2008

Darkness on the Edge of Town

LocrianTransmission.jpg

Above: Locrian. Inset: Cover of Greyfield Shrines LP (Diophantine Discs)

Like a raven perched on an electrical transformer, Locrian summon elemental human dread, the type hinted at in medieval passion plays and Shakespearean dramatic interludes, but do so electrically, without the pretense of ancient wisdom or nostalgia-laden "spectral folk." The duo of Andre Foisy and Terrence Hannum stalk the barren forests (or maybe not, since the cover of their LP contains a picture of an abandoned shopping mall…"Leave the City," anyone?) with delay-laden guitars and round, full, low-end synth textures. Although their music is steeped in darkness, Locrian never condescend to the darkness, nor do they invoke it cheaply or take shortcuts to bring us there. Each summoning is done carefully, thoughtfully, and with considerable toil.


This week, Diophantine Discs releases Greyfield Shrines, the band's debut vinyl LP.

A recording of the band's performance on WHPK's "Pure Hype" live music program, Greyfield Shrines divides its single 28 minute piece over two sides of vinyl. Side one strums patiently, gathering textures and sympathetic resonances slowly, like iron filings around a magnet, accruing power from the repeated minor-key pattern. Locrian doesn't fall into the common trap of changing the whole drone in the middle for fear of the audience (or band) getting bored, wisely pumping all energies into the uncluttered structure that they set up at the beginning, making sure that every buttress of ringing feedback and each vocal filigree added serves to reinforce the central pillar of the track's theme, like a host of mourning angels wailing on e-minor. Side two, as such, only gathers more steam and is just like side one, but louder, more entrancing, more MORE. Like the long, noisy, ascending coda of Wire's "A Touching Display" (from 154), Locrian's guitars stretch and drift into eternity, billowing feedback sculpting the chords into clouds of austere malice. Rightly, the band feels no need to extend the single piece after the point at which it is naturally finished (a common practice at some drone performances, and a true sign of an amateur, or someone unwilling or unable to end when the music dictates it), ending with an economical 28 minutes of atmosphere.


While guitar and synth-driven dark drone is hardly uncharted territory these days, Locrian's focused statement provides more than disposable thrills or diminishing returns, and multiple, careful listens reveal a wealth of details seldom seen in similar records.


Tonight (July 24), the band will kick off its mini-tour at Cobra Lounge (235 N. Ashland), along with Rabid Rabbit and Animal Law. Admission is free, and the show starts at 10:00. The band will have copies of Greyfield Shrines for sale as well, or you will be able to order them soon from Diophantine Discs, or contact the band on their Myspace.


 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

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