Wind Farming in Bilbao

Got a couple of new releases from the Sentencia Records label in Seville, Spain. Both arrived 13 June 2022.

Eolian Dawn (SR-18 CD) is performed by the duo of Imbernon and Mikel Vega. So happens we just heard from Jon Imbernon making an ungodly noise with Xedh on that vicious, gashing CD, reminding us that he’s also the guitarists with Gangrened – a Finnish sludge-doom metal act. Fellow guitarist Vega comes to us from Killerkume and Orbain Unit, both of whom we enjoyed, and he played on that brutal Black Earth cassette that still plagues my nightmares, not to mention his fine solo tape Powndak Improv.

So far, a pretty noisy and wild backstory to both our string-shredding gents, but today’s record of free-form slicery is aiming for something slower and minimal, and is not afraid to be labelled “ambient textures”. Fortunately for me, this doesn’t mean a complete cessation of audio violence, and these long-form tunes are full of exciting moments of colossal blastage and metal mayhem – it’s just that the events strike very slowly ans last a bit longer, somewhat like a train-wreck in slow motion followed by the force of an atom bomb blast spread out over several days. To put it another way, I like the implied end-of-world scenario mapped out in ‘Awrastee’, not so keen on the wispy musings of ‘Eolian Empire’. But then we have a fine workout called ‘World Is Run By Mass Persuasion’, which isn’t especially “metal” but indicates both our men are making use of digital delay FX and other knob-twisters to extend their globby, oat-like statements of pulsation and swipe, letting the FX carry their howl across a thousand chasms or at least to other side of a vast lake. If I was in the sort of mood where I was impatient for results, I’d mark down old Imbers and Veggie for taking too long to get to the point, but for those moments where you’re happy to be carried along on the back of a silver dirigible balloon steering through polluted skies, this track fits the bill like a silken hat. I also happen to like the paranoia of the title, its “mass persuasion” theme suggesting that there’s no such thing as objective reality, only our shared fictions and myths.

After that it’s just 17 more minutes to wade through, including the sludgy river of ‘Nosommar’ with its filthy water, and the bleak whited-out scapes of ‘Idyllic’ where the bass strings and amplifier hum are doing much of the heavy lifting. Recorded in Finland and issued with a “weathery” cover image, this is something of a monotonous, unvarying album, but it does persist gamely in seeking that rare elusive mood and will stain the listener with blue splotches to the face and neck.

Meanwhile Sputnik Trio’s Time Hunt (SR-15 CD) is pretty straight-ahead jazz blowing from saxman Ricardo Tejero and his sidemen, Marco Serrato (bass) and Borja Diaz (drums). They’re certainly a very co-ordinated unit, and if you click on ‘Will Be Back’ you’ll hear all three of them attaining the hoped-for “lockstep” state where all three instruments negotiate their way around a rather tricky composition and time signature, pulling it off with assurance. Such moments on the album induce a certain excitement, more so than when Tejero solos away and the band feel like they’re coasting to no apparent end. I keep waiting for the promised emotional build-up, but our altoman is content to stay pretty much in the same register for several minutes at a time; even when he goes into over-blowing mode, it fails to spark the tune into life. Great band name, the music is not unpleasant, and the players are highly competent, but the album lacks fire.

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