The End of Fear by GristRelease date: October 31, 2017
Label: Sombre Soniks
A LIGHT TRAVELS FROM VEDA SAAMANE
FRIEDMANS TO SHINE THROUGH TO OURS,
CANTO XIV, THE RISE OF THE FIRE RED MOON!! THE END OF FEAR!!
For today’s review. We’ve got the most multifaceted dark droner around today, Grist. Released last month on the total champs of “ritual drone” music Sombre Soniks. The End of Fear is a release made in 2014 that has just seen the light of day. Like all of Grist’s stuff, it’s dark ambient made in an awesome way. Using fractured small loops of (what sounds like to me) mantra recording stuff and random samples in a way that’s constantly shifting in terms of rhythm and harmony. The result is totally landscapey and brilliant, with each little shift gradually revealing a broader part of the whole universe created in each piece of music.
Melbourne’s Grist has put out a countless number of records for the past couple decades and on The End of Fear we find this occult loving trancemaster at just the height of their craft. Everything is assembled with such self assurance that the relationship between every fragmented loop (intended or otherwise) is completely satisfying. But how to describe the music? Maybe similar to shit like Mamaleek or the later Gnaw Their Tongues stuff, but even then that’s a stretch. The truth is the sounds could vaguely be described as occult/ritual inspired dark drone bleh. From plunderphonics to drugged out vaporey sounds to black metal, the palette it’s drawing from is either so evolved beyond the simple construction of those influences, or it’s drawing from a million ideas at once and placing it in that framework.either way, sick shit.
The construction of the actual music as I mentioned before, largely seems to be taking fragmented loops of chants, little random sounds. And from there, simultaneous exploring every direction you can take that little sound in and building a whole darkened landscape from the results. The way this actually happens in practice is just exhilarating to me. The subtle building nature of each extended track leads you always to somewhere highly sophisticated and endearing. If you’ve ever listened to old Steve Reich / Terry Riley stuff, you probably get what I mean about how mindblowing rhythmic phasing stuff can be. You can have 3 seconds of a chant become a wholly dynamic shifting thing that has the ability to take you to a million different places.
One thing worth mentioning, this person has made a tonne of albums, they aesthetically/production wise are fucking brilliant and there’s a tonne of people out there like them doing it who are (and I’m not over saying it here) making some of the most personal and forward thinking in this day and age. The one man black metal thing’s an obvious comparison to the work ethic, but it’s music made by people who need to make art and music for a million reasons that outweigh the need to be a part of a more commodified creative culture. It’s made by people that know what they want out of sound and just fucking go for it. The label who put this out (Sombre Soniks) have a tonne of people like that on their roster, who also couple it with their connection to varying segments of the occult. Not every album made in this style will always grab you. But I can guarantee you’ll always be hearing something unique and interesting.
So wank as it sounds it’s one of those albums for me that’s enjoyable on multiple levels. Moodwise you get a really solid spectrum from tracks like the more hypnotic ‘Take your Place’ to the I don’t know how to describe it (contemplative and melancholic maybe?) ‘Red Fire Moon V’, to the seriously claustrophobic ‘The Walls are Alive’. So once again, the fact that this is all assembled from tiny loops probably isn’t news to a good chunk of people.
But what does make it a cut above is just how well Grist manages to balance so many different aspirations and translate them into something so sonically brave and personal.