10 December 2015
Sunn 0))) - Kannon
It is pronounced Sunn.... I wish I could say that I was one of the people that had always done that, but it would be a lie. The 0))) is actually representative of the sun itself, which I have been mocked for not knowing by some hipsters; well that is me told then. Sunn 0))) have always been an interesting enity, they are always doing something new and interesting, working with other bands and artists such as Boris, Scott Walker and Ulver, praised for their originality and denounced as the emperors new clothes. They are a band who you will never find someone who is a casual fan of them, it is either a fan or just bemused, I can say it is safely say that I am definitely a fan. This is the first release just by Sunn 0))) for the first time since 2009 'Monoliths & Dimensions' after two collaboration releases, so anticipation has been driven higher; especially after the release of 'Soused' last year which was a glorious moment of noise. So let us see how the three chapters of 'Kannon' sound....
Starting this is “Kannon 1” which is introduced in a wave of feedback and strumming’s, it is not a harsh drop into this album as has been the case with other Sunn 0))) releases but at this point it is almost a gentle enter to this record. You start to get vocal rumblings around two minutes thirty from long time contributor Attila Csihar which sound like the rattle of ancients as they try to come back from the void. The song also features performances from Oren Ambarchi (guitar) & Randall Dunn (Korg MS 20). It is a slow track which does not have an instant hit of sound that came from previous releases, it is one that comes around gently much like an evening tide coming in peacefully (well, in a given sense of the word peaceful, we are talking about men who deal in feedback and notes that can induce vomiting and break ear plugs). It is almost smoothing in a way and dare I say it, relaxing? It is enjoyable, but I am wondering what the other two track will bring.
“Kannon 2” is the shortest song of the album coming in around nine minutes long, the opening is a rumble of feedback once again and then it goes into what I can only describe as a drone solo makes the hair on your neck stand on end; it is just a piece that is really good, I mean fantastic! At around the two minute plus mark, Attila comes back as are Messrs. Ambarchi and Dunn; but they are also joined during the duration of the song by Brad Mowne (concert bass drum), Steve Moore (Juno 1106), Rex Ritter (Moog) and Conch Trio (Dempster, Prister & Moore). This is quite a big list in some ways, but by no means the largest I have ever seen with Sunn 0))). The progression through the song is slow as a continental shift and a destructive as an earthquake. It is what I expect from this sort of release and it is the track of the album.
“Kannon 3” is back to the trio of O’Malley, Anderson and Csihar as the band explore their lower settings once more. From the beginning it is an endurance test with brief clashes of guitars and increase in sounds to light the way between the rolling roads of sub-sonic frequencies before Attila joins the song and adds some dark sounds to this track. Much Like “Kannon 1” it is a song I find hard to make an understanding with; the song fills me with unease, but not in the way I think its creators would be expecting from their audience. It is still a find slice of drone that engages the listener and you are challenged from beginning to end, however when it comes to the final fare of feedback I feel as if this is now part of the course and I am not as challenged as I have been before and when it ends it is with a strange sense of confusion.
This is a strange album, even by Sunn 0))) standards as it rumbles around and makes all the right sounds that you would expect. However, I am not shaking at the boots as it is a much lighter offering from these men. Do not get me wrong here, I love the record itself and I find it well produced and all of those thing, however two of the three track do not fill me with a sense of the macabre which has been their hallmark for so long. This album be design is deliberately meant to be uneasy and you are not meant to put it on which pottering around the house, but after their work with Scott Walker and their last album ‘Monoliths & Dimensions’ this is almost too easy. I still think it is brilliant and well worth looking into for all fans, but marking it not possible. Poor Sunn 0))), damned if they do and damned if they don’t – still better than an awful lot of releases and I expect it to make the list of albums I love by the end of next year, it is just a confusing first impression.
Crazy cat symbol - This album cannot be marked, so here is a box of kittens
Top track – Kannon 2
You can purchase one of the versions of Kannon from Amazon here
However, you can purchase Kannon directly from the Sunn 0))) on Bandcamp here (as well as being able to purchase the rest of their collection) - you should really use this option
Sunn 0))) now have a website (as part of the Southern Lord website) here - there is also a webstore here, you should also use this option over Amazon
You can stream Kannon on Spotify here
You can stream Kannon on Deezer here
You can stream Kannon on Tidal here
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