“If there is to be art, if there is to be any aesthetic doing and seeing, one physiological condition is indispensable: frenzy.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
There are some albums which come straight from the heart, bearing in them all the emotions that the artist could have possibly felt during or before the album’s creation. These are the albums we cherish most. The ones we feel connected to, and sometimes even draw inspiration from… And then there are some albums which are born out of a wilderness of thoughts, surpassing every known feeling and state of mind. They sing in their newly forged language, a chorus of delirium. For Nietzsche spoke of such transcendental aesthetics as being the highest form of human activity, powerful enough to alter one’s state of consciousness; something I found to be valid.
Now, forgive me for being a little dramatic, but C H R I S T here has had me in a philosophical state for a while now. Listening to T O W E R for almost a full month has taken a toll. But again, one shouldn’t be surprised because they are a band hailing from Montréal, a place that has conceived countless amazing artists. Be it the heavy ones like Voivod, Kataklysm and Cryptopsy or the ethereal ones such as Godspeed You! Black Emperor, A Silver Mt. Zion or Appalaches, they all have something very unique and inspiring to offer.
RELEASE DATE: 08 June 2015 LABEL: L’Oeil Du Tigre Records
Coming back to T O W E R, the sound is like nothing I’ve heard before. It’s heavy, yet it has a soft touch on your eardrums; the atmosphere is funereal, yet it is filled with instances of optimism; each song seems almost dormant throughout, yet at the end you reach a completely different space from the beginning. In other words, C H R I S T did in fact display their “indispensible frenzy” through their vivid experimentation with the aesthetics of sound.
As much as I’ve spoken, it’s really tough to explain what goes on in the record, one can only try. The album is largely minimal, with significant use of synth sounds and guitar effects to establish a dark and rather intense atmosphere. I’m in love with how the muddy guitars lay the heart-warming progressions on the heavy drones from the synthesizers, especially on the tracks ‘Sine’ and ‘Ornament’, which showcase beautiful implementation of both the instruments.
The harmonies on the aforementioned tracks are relatively pleasant and easygoing, whereas the ones on ‘Planar’ and ‘Rope’ fall more on the grimmer side of things with more extensive use of synthesizers. While ‘Planar’ involves vigorous use of synth tones to set a gravely mystical and dark mood, ‘Rope’ attains a very thrilling and adventurous mood by the constant variation of organ rotations, vaguely reminding me of the mood which Pink Floyd’s Animals sets in various parts.
It’s really interesting how bare minimalism perfectly depicts the significantemotional content in the music. Just as a blank piece of paper explains the exact measure of emotions better than any metaphor in the English language. That is, in fact, the case with most dark ambient albums; but unlike most of them, T O W E R demands your total attention. There’s no way you can listen to the album while doing something else; the music won’t let you.
T O W E R is definitely a release to check out and experience. It’s up on their Bandcamp page as a “Name your price” download. You may download it for free or you may pay $4 for it, it’s up to you. What I can tell you is that, whatever you choose to pay, it’ll be totally worth your money.