Sun Stabbed, "In Girum Imus Nocte Et Consumimur Igni"

Sunday, 11 April 2021 12:18 Anthony D'Amico Reviews - Sound Bytes
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It has been roughly a decade since this French duo of gnarled guitar enthusiasts last surfaced as Sun Stabbed and I have certainly missed them, though Thierry Monnier and Pierre Faure's similarly excellent La Morte Young project helped fill the void nicely.  Aside from the different line-ups, the main difference between the two projects is that this one is kind of a direct homage to some of New Zealand's most iconic purveyors of blacked drones and noisy guitars.  While no discussion of that subject would be complete without Campbell Kneale, it is The Dead C and the woefully underheard Surface of the Earth that explicitly provide the most inspiration here.   Characteristically, Monnier and Faure are admirably up to the task of continuing that fine tradition, as In Girum Imus Nocte Et Consumimur Igni is a feast of manipulated feedback, burned-out wreckage, and simmering drones.  Occasionally it can be eerily beautiful and haunting, but I also like the parts that resemble an onstage brawl between Skullflower and Sunn O))).  This is an instant noise/drone guitar classic.

Doubtful Sounds

The album opens with its most slow-burning pleasure, as "Le soleil couchant de cette cité laissait quelques lueurs" opens with a single distorted tone that lazily twists and undulates for several minutes.  As that note drones on, a haze of feedback and overtones starts to form around it and the higher pitches begin to resemble Tuvan throat singing.  Eventually the central drone is fleshed out a bit, but the piece continues to feel like a single smoldering and gently twisting drone loaded with seething tension.  It is a beautifully crafted piece, but I appreciated it even more once I translated the title (roughly "The setting sun of this city left some light"), as I started envisioning all of the slowly unfurling tendrils of sound as streaks of deep red and bruised purple in the darkening wake of a sunset (definitely made me wish I had synesthesia).  The following "La sensation de l'écoulement du temps" is another slow-building masterpiece of controlled violence and superhuman patience, as ghost trails of feedback lazily wind across a landscape of drones and gently sizzling and crackling amp noise.  The neat twist this time around is that the spectral feedback and the underlying drones both cohere into rhythmic patterns that are as languorously hypnotic as any Indian raga I have heard.  Sun Stabbed differ from raga in some very significant ways though, particularly in the passing storm of stuttering, blown-out distortion that soon consumes the song.  Yet another perfectly titled piece (roughly "So here is a civilization that burns, capsizes and sinks in its entirety") closes this album with a convulsive catharsis of roiling guitar noise and buzzing, low-end hum.  It is not quite on the same level as the previous two pieces, but compensates with its comparative brevity and provides an enjoyably volcanic finale.

Samples can be found here.

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 April 2021 14:08