[Reviewed by stark]
It’s only seemingly a surprising set of artists, because the active for over 25 years noise – drone experimenter Daniel Menche has already collaborated with Aaron Turner’s Sige Records several times in the past. Aaron is known for a whole bunch of bands with Isis at the top, but it seems that for the moment it is Mamiffer which is the most important for him; a family enterprise to a certain degree, as Faith Collocia, this versatile musician’s wife, is the second band member. Anyway, these guys know each other like bald horses, as we say in Poland, and they admit themselves that “Crater” is in a sense a crowning of their long term friendship.
Both Mammifer and Daniel Menche have already been hosted in our magazine, on the occasion of “Statu Nascendi” and “Marriage Of Metals” respectively. Dreampop catching on shoegaze on the one hand and harsh metallic drones on the other. And as it turns out, both sound poetics are not so distant from one another, and austere airiness attacked with static again and again is a recipe that turns out to be tasty in practice as well.
“Calyx” is a simple yet addictive piano/guitar looped melody, and each subsequent cycle is increasingly distorted and gradually covered in a rust coating. Subconsciously you are waiting for an explosion of emotional noise, but this never occurs. The second composition, “Husk” starts with some unidentified field recordings, which take a slightly more rhythmic form, but only for a moment. Just when it seems that this sequence will assume an ordered structure, it quickly returns to the surreal polyphony composed by the environment itself, joined by guitars howling like warning sirens, and I start to wonder where the nearest bomb shelter is. Yet later the dense drone form that this piece transforms into makes me forget about anxiety, and helps me fall into a dreamlike state.
“Alluvial” is an ambient / drone track based of field recordnigs and long metallic sequences, possibly generated with the use of guitar, but I’m not 100% sure about that. Still, a nice and melancholic track. I think that “Breccia” is my favorite offering by these artists on the whole album, even though it’s a bit aggressive. The drones are taking a somehow harsher dimension – which doesn’t mean darker, it’s still the same atmosphere, only passed through a veil of static – and since I love this kind of sound, the verdict can be only one. A masterpiece.
With “Exuviae” they’re drifting into early Robert Rich territories. The sound is not that organic, but it’s still the music of nature, only with mercury roots twining around the trees in an electric forest.
Do not expect a desolate and apocalyptic finale on “Crater”. “Maar” is a quite short piano – guitar impression, to a certain degree similar to the opener. Twisted and oneiric, but at the same time melancholic and the closest to traditional song structure, with a nice melody and plainly served atmosphere.
“Crater” is an album by two professionals who – to our luck – did not forget that emotions are also important in music, especially this kind of music where there are no lyrics and no conventional rhythmic forms. I get their idea and I’m totally satisfied with the final result.