Author Topic: Sunn - Monoliths and Dimensions  (Read 26171 times)

9dragons

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Re: Sunn - Monoliths and Dimensions
« Reply #20 on: June 02, 2009, 12:40:06 AM »
I don't think they are meant to be taken seriously in a slaytanic doom sense. I keep thinking of them as doom dudes who secretly want to make ambient, and dress up to still be tough. It works though. I think a certain awareness of the absurdity of it helps. I go from laughing to liking it. A friend was over today and I had him sit down and listen to Monoliths, and he was letting out a train of abusive epithets against them, it was quite funny. But in defending the band, I came to like them even more. Cutting through the absurdity and getting into the really ambient nature of the music. Or rather, they are the closest thing to doom music that an ambient act ever gets (or vice versa). On the new album, the cookie monster vocal element is actually a good thing. I usually hate that vocal style, but on here the singer (or spoken word man) is quite good, speaking slowing in a rich, deep voice; the lyrics are near gibberish but it all sounds good. The theatricality is fun...

Hmmm...am I overthinking all this?

APK

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Re: Sunn - Monoliths and Dimensions
« Reply #21 on: June 02, 2009, 05:52:55 AM »
 :D  yep, overthinking comes to mind.

I listened to the myspace pieces, and Alan has it about right. Bits of bleak distorted Black Sabbath riffs that go nowhere, combined with a Grateful Dead feedback session. Musically close to zero. Take a lot of sophistry to get this off the ground. ;D
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Scott M2

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Re: Sunn - Monoliths and Dimensions
« Reply #22 on: June 02, 2009, 06:43:51 AM »
Thanks for the insight. I'd thought it was Sunn Oh as well.
They've played Toronto once or twice and I've been intrigued to experience them
but repelled by their reputation as being superloud - which I try to avoid now.  :o
I particularly liked their track on the Buddha Machine comp.
Album recommendations for something more than sludge?

9dragons

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Re: Sunn - Monoliths and Dimensions
« Reply #23 on: June 02, 2009, 09:58:08 AM »
Try the new one. It's a good balance. But the main point I would have is that this music is good for listeners who either want a little doomier edge in their ambient, or who dabble in doom but don't like most of it, and want something with more depth, or people into doom who want to explore a more ambient side.

Will none defend this group, or are they universally scorned by all here on the forum?

Come on...

9dragons

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Re: Sunn - Monoliths and Dimensions
« Reply #24 on: June 02, 2009, 10:04:48 AM »
:D  yep, overthinking comes to mind.

I listened to the myspace pieces, and Alan has it about right. Bits of bleak distorted Black Sabbath riffs that go nowhere, combined with a Grateful Dead feedback session. Musically close to zero. Take a lot of sophistry to get this off the ground. ;D

Isn't the music we love (ambient) also often accused of "going nowhere"? Are you feeling that it is just empty? I felt the same some time ago, listening to this band, but I think the new one goes far. Also I would restate that Sunn is indeed ambient (or drone) for listeners who were fans of Black Sabbath (like I am) but who are so deep into ambient that they don't listen to much "normal" music, and still want to get that doom flair.

The closest point where the two worlds touch (doom and ambient) is Sunn and Fear Falls Burning. They are coming from different sides and going toward something that is perhaps in similar terrain.

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Re: Sunn - Monoliths and Dimensions
« Reply #25 on: June 02, 2009, 11:17:49 AM »
Sorry, Joseph. I have to say, for my part, I simply don’t hear the ambient qualities in it, and I haven’t been able to warm to the Sunnies (or FFB) at all.

I’d say that people looking for the ‘doombient’ concept realised in a less black metal-driven form might check out Stephen Parsick’s [‘ramp] collab with Markus Reuter, as trailed by him just lately on the forum here. I happened to review it a while ago as part of a bundle of [‘ramp] stuff over here.

There’s also the AUN project, that was discussed around here on the forum, which I’d argue blends ambient/drone/doom/noise in a far more palatable way: details here

APK

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Re: Sunn - Monoliths and Dimensions
« Reply #26 on: June 02, 2009, 11:29:21 AM »
Joseph:   I've of course only heard their 2 tracks on myspace, so very small sample.

I suspect there's lots of drone that "goes nowhere" (not that I can think of any) (I don't listen to much pure drone), but my preference is for development/structure, however minimal. The Fear Falls Burning material appears much more structured compared to Sunn. Again, only going by myspace in both cases. With Sunn, I think I'd have to want to like them (for whatever twisted reason  :D) to actually then spend enough time to with them for them to perhaps grow on me.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2009, 11:31:03 AM by APK »
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avec

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Re: Sunn - Monoliths and Dimensions
« Reply #27 on: June 02, 2009, 07:30:42 PM »
Completely with you on this one, 9dragons.  I'd sampled their music but was never drawn in enough to pronounce any attachment to their sound.  Just kind of bored me and pushed me away at the same time. 

This album, however, is a completely different story to me.  Maybe it's the variations and changes in the songs.  But I really like it. 

The vocalist sounds exactly like "The Emperor"  in Star Wars!  haha beware guys, it's a little cringe worthy on the first track.  But if you can get past that, just after the middle of the track the sound evolution becomes completely incredible.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2009, 07:47:08 PM by avec »

9dragons

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Re: Sunn - Monoliths and Dimensions
« Reply #28 on: June 03, 2009, 08:39:26 PM »
Glad to hear you like it, Avec. I headphoned Monoliths again last night and was very pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. This album really does go into uncharted terrain.

As for the vocals, they are funny. But the man (Csihar I believe) has talent, and as the vocalization (spoken word really) continues, it becomes quite interesting and integral to the sound. The dude does sound like some kind of evil Emperor reciting weird alchemical texts...it is fun.

Alan, you mention ['ramp] (funnily enough another typographic based name) as a possible substitute for Sunn. Judging from the one sample I was able to hear, this wouldn't work, at least for me. Completely different missions, from what I can gather. When I reach for Sunn, I am not looking for less doom metal influence, but the maximum allowed while still being in the realm of ambient. Sunn is that, and no other band is in that zone. Monoliths and Dimensions is quite an expansive album, with many acoustic instruments and voices worked in expertly to create a whole new sound. I just don't see Aun or ramp on that same level, they are just very different in terms concept and execution.

But again, it is based on what the individual listener is going for. If I am in the mood for the best dark ambient, a work like Stalker comes to mind. But if I want something with more instrument based but still with an ambient ethos, I go for Sunn. Above all, their music is...fun. Playful even. I can't think of any dark ambient that has that essence; as much as I love dark ambient, it isn't quite fun or humorous.

Sunn satisfies the nostalgic urge of one who read fantasy and sci-fi as a kid (still does), listened to Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath, then became primarily interested in ambient music.

avec

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Re: Sunn - Monoliths and Dimensions
« Reply #29 on: June 04, 2009, 03:49:11 AM »
You may enjoy this recent interview with them, as I did.  Talks about the album and specific songs in depth.  I was curious about how they made the "creaking" sound at the 7min point in "Aghartha" and it turns out to be a bunch of Cello's!  Go figure.http://www.tinymixtapes.com/sunnO

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Re: Sunn - Monoliths and Dimensions
« Reply #30 on: June 04, 2009, 01:48:26 PM »

Alan, you mention ['ramp] (funnily enough another typographic based name) as a possible substitute for Sunn. Judging from the one sample I was able to hear, this wouldn't work, at least for me. Completely different missions, from what I can gather. When I reach for Sunn, I am not looking for less doom metal influence, but the maximum allowed while still being in the realm of ambient. Sunn is that, and no other band is in that zone. Monoliths and Dimensions is quite an expansive album, with many acoustic instruments and voices worked in expertly to create a whole new sound. I just don't see Aun or ramp on that same level, they are just very different in terms concept and execution.

I had a searing moment of insight on this, Joseph.

You like metal. I don't.

Might account for our schism.

9dragons

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Re: Sunn - Monoliths and Dimensions
« Reply #31 on: June 04, 2009, 02:27:02 PM »
Your revelation is indeed valid. I would say there is a big metal love factor in listening to Sunn. More so than the love of drone or dark ambient. But I'll say it again, the great thing about them is that they are the closest a metal band has ever gotten to the spirit of ambient music.

Avec, the interview was great. I was quite pleasantly surprised to see O'Malley mention Fear Falls Burning!

Here is the excerpt:

I was going to ask about the dark ambient genre and if this is an influence on you, if you consider sunn 0))) to be a dark ambient band or if you shirk that classification.

O'Malley: Sunn 0)))’s a rock band. I mean, I’ve been interested in “dark ambient” music in the past, but I’m not really into it nowadays. It’s a little like goth music; it didn’t age well. I was a big fan of [Swedish label] Cold Meat Industry in the ’90s, but now I fucking hate the sort of martialistic — like martial is a big word, you know, pseudo-military — it’s just like why? You’re some fucking fashion victim sitting in your basement with a sequencer, you know, Ableton Live. But I do appreciate the music, at least some of it. I do like Fear Falls Burning a lot.