Saturday, 14 September 2019

Raven - Global Warming Sessions

Artist: Raven
Label: Laughing Vines Records
Catalogue no: N/A

     1.      I
     2.      II
     3.      III
     4.      IV

This is only the second release from Belgrade’s Laughing Vines Records (having been established earlier this year), and a noisy affair it is too. As I’ve intimated before, however, noise doesn’t necessarily have to be the equivalent of sitting next to a jet engine for an hour or more – noise has its own textures and modes, and it can be manipulated to create moods and stories (and, when all is said and done, that’s exactly what music of any kind is – a series of noises manipulated to produce pleasing melodies and moods). However, on this particular release, what we get is a series of hot blasts and slabs of pure unadulterated noise, but there’s still a tale to be told here and if listened to closely one can hear it.

However, whether this was named the Global Warming Sessions to serve as a warning or as a nihilistic ‘let’s finish off the job that we’ve already started’ is completely up to the listener. One can interpret this both ways: a) this is what’ll happen if we keep messing with the ecosystems of this planet or b) this is what happened because we carried on as we’d always done and this is the result. As reviews are subjective (no matter if we aver otherwise), on this one I am leaning towards the former and so will base this assessment on that.

Four tracks, each lasting between 14 and 15 minutes, comprised of brain-searing, necrotic, flesh-ravaging concussive walls of sound. Imagine this scenario: once we’ve killed off the flora and fauna (and ourselves in the process) all that’s left are hurricane-strength, howling winds eroding whatever’s left of the varied landscapes that once were, turning lush grasslands into desert, and steppes and plains into dried and cracked wastelands, creating unrelenting and unrelieved planes of dirt and soil stretching from one horizon to the one opposite. Perhaps, too, enormous conflagrations are burning down the remaining forests, creating vast fields of black ash while the towering flames are creating their own downdraughts and strong winds, only adding to the devastation. No wonder, then, that in its wake there will be nothing but desolation and denudation – a lifeless, colourless world akin to the surface of Pluto or Mercury, with atmospheric temperatures equal to those on Venus.

It isn’t a particularly comfortable listen, but then it shouldn’t be. This is a portrayal of a possible (some would say inevitable, given our species’ wilful ignorance) future, of a planet devoid of everything that makes it the place of natural beauty it is now, and also a warning to any visiting space-faring beings who may chance upon the blackened globe of the planet at some far future point – this is the result of arrogance and hubris, so take note.

Whichever way you decide to approach this one, there’s no denying that it’s comprehensively apocalyptic and nihilistic in a thoroughly misanthropic manner. This is like putting your ears and brain into a meat-grinder, turning them into a steaming pile of mush and mince. Perhaps this is the only way to get us to collectively listen (which I very much doubt will ever happen), or it could equally be an epitaph, a pithy way of saying ‘Here lies the Earth, after dying due to gross stupidity and greed’. Let’s just say that this has the capacity to be extremely sobering, if one cares to listen.

Available via Bandcamp as a download and as a limited edition cassette (clear cassette with sticky labels – 20 only):

Psymon Marshall 2019.

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