Although it’s technically true to say that Earth is a drone band, this genre doesn’t fully describe their sound. There are many drone bands that tend to come off as just downright noise based or trying to be more experimental than anything else. Though this instrumental four piece from Seattle definitely offers an alternative to your standard American pop band, they’ve created music that is effective in eliciting an emotion as well.
Download: Earth - "Engine of Ruin"
It’s somewhat redundant to describe this band as earthy after all, but there is a sort of grounded and organic feel to their dark sound. They come off halfway between John Fahey on morphine and a Rothko painting. The feminine presence of drummer Adrienne Davies also gives the overall sound a slightly gentler feel, especially on their most recent album. In fact, their recently released sixth studio album on Southern Lord Records, The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull, is their most accessible to date. Though it still maintains a heavy density, it is filled with many warm tones and gradual progressions that ease into their melodies. “Rise to Glory” “Omens and Portents II: Carrion Crow,” and “Engine of Ruin” were definite highlights of their set Friday night. Though the listening experience is somewhat akin to living life in slow motion, it ends up feeling at times monumental. It’s easy to find yourself wondering if all life should be slowed down for a few moments to increase its ability to make an impact.
Local musician Helen Money, which is the moniker for Alison Chesley, opened up for Earth with a set that felt as if it slipped away much too fast. Playing an intense cello that was looped and fed through various pedal effects, she was at times sincere and sentimental in her playing and at other times playing as if she was in a heavier sort of metal band. In this way, she proved that the cello can be as much as an instrument as a weapon and it was truly amazing to witness this. In fact, she was the best cellist I’ve ever seen/heard live and definitely not only due to her talent but her ability to be creative and, perhaps above all things, truly memorable in a world that has 6.5 billion people and growing.