By: Dylan Schink
Mamiffer | website | facebook | bandcamp |
Released on April 1, 2016 via SIGE Records
Existing somewhere at the crossroads of drone doom, dream pop, ambient, and medieval hymns, Mamiffer, composed of Faith Coloccia and Aaron Turner (of Isis, Old Man Gloom and SUMAC fame), defies convention, categorisation or easy description. The World Unseen successfully brings together the stark wastelands of 2011’s Mare Decendrii with the religious intensity of their previous album, Statu Nascendi. The result is a journey of an album.
The first movement of the album naturally follows from the previous Statu Nascendi developing its minimal, heartbreaking sounds. Faith Coloccia sings reverberating siren songs over haunting minimal piano melodies underscored with various drones. The highlight here is ‘Mara’, with its slow strings, melancholic piano, and vocals that conjure images of long forgotten church choirs. It’s a heartbreaking and staggeringly beautiful piece of music.
With ‘Domestication Of The Ewe’, a three-part cataclysmic ambient drone piece fit for the deaths of ancient stars, the album goes down a decidedly darker road. Part one is the most desolate pieces on the album. It’s a long, enveloping passage of whirring noise, like hundreds of helicopters dancing overhead, before it gives way to the metallic, glacial soundscapes that lead into the dooming second part. The result is highly reminiscent of much of Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s pre-hiatus softer passages, blending slow strings with deep drones and a soft piano melody that builds in intensity and volume, before dragging, dooming guitar chords enter the mix and the piece reaches an emotionally powerful but extremely restrained climax. Part three sees the return of Coloccia’s vocals, now gracing the soft, almost inviting, stark drones that Mamiffer have perfected.
The World Unseen concludes with the very ambient ‘Parthenogenesis’, where the sparse drones, delicate piano playing, and reverberating vocals meet in a perfect, beautiful harmony, playing to both extremes of Mamiffer’s range at the same time, perfectly summing and closing the album.
From magnificent and melancholic cathedral-filling vocal passages through unforgiving and desolate desert soundscapes, The World Unseen is an incredibly rich album that’s expertly put together to create a deeply rewarding and unforgettable experience.