Sunday, March 16, 2008

Du Hexen Hase – Under the Clouds of Sleep [No Label]

Hey, a quick (but awesome) one here. This is a 3inch by local (Seattle) act Du Hexen Hase, which I know little about other than its Adam from Dull Knife’s other slammin’ drone trio. Adam gave me this at a totally killer show with masters of the universe Yellow Swans a while back and anyway, I’ve really been slacking on the reviews so I’m just now finally giving this CD-r its due. Also worth noting, the guys list Mitch Hedburg as an influence on their myspace page, so my question to you is: how can they not be great?
“Under the Clouds of Sleep” is a single 17.5 minute track. It sounds like there is maybe two guitars though I suppose it could be one looping over itself. There are plenty of others groans and creaks emanating from who knows what, doubling the track’s mystifying-ness. My favorite thing about the track is its melodic sensibilities. Despite the eerie, almost film-score vibe, there are many moments of beauty in the rotted greyness. The guitarplaying is the element providing the melody and it really anchors the track, so whoever was playing guitar during this session—gold star to you. There are a few layers, particularly a simple repeated arpeggio and a really great almost shimmering staccato type part that pops up occasionally. As the track moves along various bits of electronics noise curls around the frame of the guitar playing. This track is really strange for me to listen to, because it’s an incredibly pleasant listen yet it almost always makes me think of grim, incredibly unpleasant things like a plane crash or a post-apocalyptic world. Under the Clouds of Sleep is like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road but done d.i.y. drone style. Du Hexen Hase conjure up the sonic equivalent of the smoke rising from ashes and burnt rubble. Sorry to get so bleak on you but, hey, I can’t help it. Some ephemeral elements I particularly like towards the end of the track are the echoing clanks of cymbals/sheet metal and a shrill sound device reminiscent of the synth used on Liquid Swords. The piece as a whole is interesting; it’s simultaneously about half repetition and half free form. And even despite the repetition, the track is endlessly replayable. It’s a meditative zoner but not in the typical “drone” sense (there are very few if any sustained tones). Anyway, this track is a killer and though I’ve yet to hear any other pieces of Du Hexen Hase’s discography, I’ve got a feeling they’ll be pretty sweet too. Now I just need to fulfill my duty as a Seattle citizen sees these dudes shred in the live environment.
The CD-r is self-released and adorned with fantastic ostrich art and limited to only 47 copies (a shame). So if there are any copies left, I’m not really sure where to look (maybe their myspace page). But if you come across it don’t hesitate to snag it, and if you don’t, better pray for a re-release. One of my favorite releases of ’08 so far.

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