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Ancestor - Phase 1-Silence (7/10) - USA - 2008

Genre: Ambient / Drone
Label: Seventh Link
Playing time: 63:28
Band homepage: Ancestor

Tracklist:

  1. Heat Of Dead Earth
  2. Ancestor
  3. Locust
  4. Silence/Rise
  5. Harvest
  6. Silver Heathen Symbol
  7. When Slaves Rest
  8. Two Stone Circles
  9. They, Of The Sea
  10. Silence/Fall
  11. Extinct
  12. Mountains Recede To Plain
Ancestor - Phase 1-Silence

High up on the list of "bands that really don't fit on this site but sent promos so we have to review them", ANCESTOR traffic in a kind of super minimalist drone that 99% of those who use this site will dislike with a passion.

Yeah, no SUNN O))) or BORIS comparisons here. ANCESTOR's combination of found sounds, long, glitchy drones and occasional bouts of fuzzy guitar bring to mind JONATHAN COLECLOUGH getting a delay pedal, a large church organ (particularly on the luscious drone that is "Harvest") and a huge amp, and then hitting them with a baseball bat now and again. If that sounds appealing to you then read on, otherwise you might as well stop now.

Anyway, glitchy drone type stuff is pretty much a recipe for success to me. I've had a boner for this kind of stuff for a while now, but even this record caught me by surprise with it's sheer minimalism. Not a great deal happens in the first few songs, and while the record gets a fair bit noisier and epic-er in the last couple of tunes it's probably not a good idea to make the audience eat their vegetables before they get any dessert in albums like this, by the time the somewhat dramatic pulse and sweep of "Two Stone Circles" comes in everyone's either completely droned out or asleep (or is using the CD as a frisbee) and it's rather a shame, the alternatively queasy and blissed out dronescape that is "They, Of The Sea" deserves to be heard by as many people as possible, while "Extinct" is an excellent collection of deep, droney pulses before some super distorted guitar comes in at the end with the only recognisable guitar riffs in the whole album- it's quite harsh and quite enjoyable all round, certainly a nice change from the usual clean, stately tones that permeate through the rest of this release.

Overall, the album is quite an excellent collection of steady, slowly unfolding drones. The photography helps a fair bit; being a bit of an idiot I don't want to say for sure that the theme of the album is slavery but all the pictures of cotton and some old wooden hut suggest something along those lines, the song titles help too. It's kind of an odd theme, really, and I'm probably wrong about it- the song titles sugget it but the general hypnotic-ness of the album and the lovely, meditative pictures suggest that it may be something else then slavery as the main theme.

Seriously, though, who cares about themes? Fact of the matter is that this is some pretty nice ambient/drone, not on the same level of ELUVIUM and TIM HECKER and what not but still solid as, although only dedicated drone fans need apply.

(Online May 25, 2008)

Caspian Yurisich



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