Sunn O))) – Dømkirke (2008) tisdag, Nov 18 2008 

splash2Sunn O))) wasn’t the first to play virtually rythmless music with droning guitars, but they are definitely the most famous, and arguably the cutting edge of the genre today. What is interesting is that the way they push the envelope for their sound isn’t by becoming more extreme and inaccessible. What Dømkirke is a prime example of is how successively adding conventional elements such as (clean) vocals and acoustic instruments to their perfected mauling distortion have created a whole new monster. This latest offering is recorded in the cathedral of Bergen, Norway, and makes use of the church’s resident organ.

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Velvet Cacoon – Nightvines lördag, Sep 6 2008 

The Velvet Cacoon hype machine treads on with this seemingly authentic VC video that was posted on youtube one day ago without a word of it’s existance on any official sites. It is indeed beautiful, but it makes me wonder whether Atropine will be entirely composed of ambient ‘seadrones’ such as this track and Funeral Noir?

Pentemple – O))) presents… (2008) söndag, Aug 31 2008 

On the 7th of may last year Stephen O’Malley, Greg Anderson, Attila Csihar, Oren Ambarchi and Sin Nanna gathered for a one-off improv show in Melbourne Australia, and as evident by this recording of the event, the result was quite intense. Sunn O))) — the band that Pentemple is an offshoot to — is really moving in the right direction with their latest releases, last year’s Oracle was brilliant and the permanent addition (it is right?) of Attila Csihar’s haunting voices to their line up has evolved their sound to a less guitar-based approach. What really stands out with this live recording though is the stunning and totally unexpected performance by Sin Nanna — previously known for playing primitive depressive black metal under the moniker Striborg. During the hour-long improv, here divided into two tracks called Pazuzu 1 and 2 (the demon from the The Exorcist movies remember?), he manages to conjure some highly technical and ritualistic drumming that adds a whole new dimension to Sunn O)))’s psychedelic sound, making this Pentemple release most likely the best output of the social sphere of Sunn’ and their many collaborators this year.

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Nadja – Long Dark Twenties (2008) and more lördag, Aug 16 2008 

This is another Nadja EP from earlier this year that I think really shows how much Aidan’s vocals add to their music. Long Dark Twenties is one long track featuring muddled singing that brings a soft melancholic atmosphere to the entire piece — similar in many ways to their previous cover of Swans’ No cure for the lonely. Also there is a new track up on their myspace called Alien in my own skin that I highly recommend. Finally, for those not yet convinced of Nadja’s excellence here is an independent ‘tube version of Stays Demons:

Nadja & Black boned Angel – Christ Send Light (2008) måndag, Jul 21 2008 

In their ninth release of ’08 (a live DVD not included), Canadian ambient drone duo Nadja presents an absolutely stunning collaboration with New Zealand’s Black boned angel. Nadja’s occasional strides into the more blissful side the droney spectrum have been few but unparalled in the genre, surpassing the recent productions of more well-known shoegaze metallers Jesu with ease (best represented by the sensuality of Stays Demons from their debut). In this EP they add the crushing backdrop of BBA’s uncompromising guitar tectonics to their patented pink pillows of fuzzy drone, but cram it into a choral setting previously unheard of from either band. The song is basically a half-an-hour chorus, with the expected monotony of the genre accentuated by unreal guitar flavours, courtesy of that someone in BBA that is capable of alternately making their instrument sound like a church organ and a puppy with a gunshot wound, within a twinkling of time. Track of the year so far, without a doubt.