Sunn O)))

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Sunn O)))

Postby simonkeeping » Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:42 pm

So, recently as a result of one of my other interests (fuzz pedals and music gear), I've become more interested in bands at the heavier end of the scale of the drone spectrum. Sunn O))) being a particular favorite. One reason is I really like the music they make (and their whole aesthetic) and the other is they have alot of very cool looking musical equipment.

The lack of any beat naturally opens up the music considerably. Which is an interesting concept in itself. You could put a beat of any speed over it and the slow chord progressions would suddenly be something else entirely, more dynamic or whatever, but, it fills up the space. It's something I'd never consciously considered until today. But, no beat creates this mood and a space in the music that is very open and not really dependent on traditional time signatures, It's more down to feel.

Sadly I wasn't able to go to the show at the Barbican on Tuesday as I've been ill for ages and the thought of having my rib cage rattled by brutally loud guitars for an hour and a half probably wouldn't have eased my (already considerable) pain. I heard that the soundcheck was audible from the car park, that is loud. Incidentally, I was listening to a bootleg of it earlier and the ending section of the show sounds like free jazz. Albeit a very messed up, heavy version of it but, it was great. I love the idea of pushing an idea to its very limit as that's sometimes where the most interesting things happen - On the edge of chaos. The sweet spot where it's something has almost collapsed but somehow it's still limping onwards with bits hanging off it.

Anyway, is anyone else into them? I have to say I tried the Scott Walker collaboration and it wasn't for me. but, it was an amazing pairing.
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Re: Sunn O)))

Postby mc » Fri Mar 24, 2017 1:02 am

Yes, I am a serious Sunn O))) acolyte. This is a holding "I'm in!" post - more detail will follow as soon as I can type it up... :)
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Re: Sunn O)))

Postby simonkeeping » Fri Mar 24, 2017 11:31 am

Cool, thanks for that MC! thought I was on my own then ;)
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Re: Sunn O)))

Postby natty » Fri Mar 24, 2017 1:40 pm

Love 'em.

Been really interesting to see how their music has evolved over the years, from basically starting off as an Earth tribute act (there's even an early Sunn O))) track called "Dylan Carlson") to incorporating influences from all over the place and collaborating with some really interesting musicians. Some of their more recent stuff is really quite beautiful, "Alice" from "Monoliths and Dimensions", for instance. Still not seen them live though. Need to change that soon.
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Re: Sunn O)))

Postby rameses » Fri Mar 24, 2017 3:05 pm

Love a bit of SUNN O)))

Check out ALTAR their collaboration with BORIS.

I must remember to get a ticket for the gig in Leeds in July.
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Re: Sunn O)))

Postby angelsighs » Sat Mar 25, 2017 3:53 pm

I saw them live at ATP one time (2009 I think?).. I was curious to see what they'd be like as you hear all these stories about extreme volume and what an experience it is. came away a bit non plussed to be honest, didn't watch the whole set and it wasn't even that loud. I do appreciate that at festivals bands have a bit less control over their sound & volume.

I have liked the little bit I've heard of Monoliths and Dimensions, which seemed to be a bit more interesting as they added various other instruments into the mix rather than just droning guitars.

and, just recently I've got the Sunn/Scott Walker album and I quite like it.. could be my way in.
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Re: Sunn O)))

Postby mc » Sun Mar 26, 2017 2:01 am

So, Sunn O)))...

Starting with the live experience, I've only seen them once - 2009, playing with Bong (marvellous too!) as support at Stereo in Glasgow. After Bong finished and the roadies had done a modicum of work onstage, the room started filling with dry ice. Literally 30 minutes later, the dry ice machines were still going and the room was still virtually in darkness. Eventually the coloured strobes came on, which only highlighted how opaque the room had become - the people a couple of rows in front of me were indistinct silhouettes, there was so much CO2 in the air! Vague figures shuffled onstage --

And then a note was struck.

Earlier that night, Bong had played loud as fuck, but this note - Jesus wept, I've honestly never felt anything like it before or since. I already had earplugs in, but this one note wasn't just volume - it enveloped my entire body, churned my stomach and set pretty much every bone in my body vibrating. And then it carried on - for 90 fucking minutes. I -think- they were playing Monoliths & Dimensions, but it was impossible to tell. I have virtually no other memories of that gig, other than the sheer overwhelming gut-churning force of the sound -- nothing painful earwise at the time, because it was all so low frequency, but on the train home afterwards I could barely hear a thing. After less than 5 hours sleep I had to get up and teach eight periods of Physics, and despite having only had 3 pints the entire night, I felt like a warmed up corpse -- I was virtually deaf (not handy for a teacher dealing with a room full of 12-year olds!), my head was honestly still swimming with the physicality of it all, and I was generally exhausted to boot. Man, it was worth it though, and I got some lovely O))) vinyl there too :)
Attachments
19665_264545571284_2049582_n.jpg
Not blurry, just a very dry-ice choked room...
19665_264545571284_2049582_n.jpg (16 KiB) Viewed 387 times
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Re: Sunn O)))

Postby sunray » Sun Mar 26, 2017 5:52 pm

Saw them twice, never got the volume thing with them really, although on occasion the low frequencies could be felt around the frame.
First time was in Crawdaddy (now gone) in Dublin in 2006. Very small venue, filled with smoke and hooded figures on stage. I found it all a bit laughable to be honest but certainly an experience. This gig, and many others, are available on their bandcamp page.

Second time was ATP in 2007, I think they came on after OM and before The Heads. Stupid twats got the bar shut down for about twenty minutes due to their dry ice setting off the smoke alarms :roll: :lol: Apparently at the end of the gig O'Malley and Anderson started having a punch up on stage, I still don't know how I missed this episode!!

I think its the vocals that I find most ridiculous. Perhaps purely instrumental would be better.

I will probably go see them again in July as they haven't been here in years but I would never think of playing their albums at home anymore.
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Re: Sunn O)))

Postby scoz » Thu Mar 30, 2017 10:13 pm

I guess the difference between seeing them in their own right which I haven't and at a festival which I have. is they control the sound system when it's just them playing while at a festival it's the festival the supplies it. A while back I saw some macho idiot saying bascially "wooo I saw Sunn o))) without earplugs and my ears are still ringing a week later woo".

I watched a pretty interesting RBMA thing with Steven O'Mally from a few years back chatting about Earth and how incredible a drummer Adrienne is, I won't go into it you can watch it yourselves if you want

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-ZdB7pEvAs

I'm not big into Attilla's vocals but then pretty daft music should have pretty daft vocals.
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Re: Sunn O)))

Postby angelsighs » Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:50 pm

scoz wrote:I guess the difference between seeing them in their own right which I haven't and at a festival which I have. is they control the sound system when it's just them playing while at a festival it's the festival the supplies it.


yeah fair point about the sound at festivals- as I mentioned earlier.
it was just a bit on an anticlimax hearing about this band who were apparently super insanely loud.. and then they came on stage it was like "ooh.. is that it? I've heard louder"

sunray wrote:. Very small venue, filled with smoke and hooded figures on stage. I found it all a bit laughable to be honest but certainly an experience. This gig, and many others, are available on their bandcamp page.


I'll admit this is almost the reaction I had to this band at first too. with all the robes and smoke it's almost like they take themselves too seriously and it's a bit risible. I do reckon there's probably more humour in there than we think, and some element of tongue in cheek.. I would hope so anyway!
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Re: Sunn O)))

Postby scoz » Sat Apr 01, 2017 1:01 am

Oops missed your bit saying pretty much the same.

Can't remember where I saw it but O'Malley was saying they robes allow an amount of anonymity so people don't neccessarily know what the line up is. so maybe they can rope in dylan carlson or someone from Boris and it not become a big deal that "guest stars" sometimes become. Though I guess the robes & smoke has become part of the shtick now and they are stuck with it.

Though they did go and record an album in a cathedral in Norway so maybe there is a sense of humour
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Re: Sunn O)))

Postby simonkeeping » Sun Apr 23, 2017 2:35 pm

Sorry, never replied to these great posts. Some great comments. Pretty much everyone I talk to about them, especially those who have seen them live say the same thing about the physicality of their music.

It sounds like a real "experience" seeing them live.. Ive got tickets to see them at the Concorde in Brighton which I imagine will be utterly brutal. Such a small venue for such a big sound. Trying to negotiate the way back to London after it I'm sure will be quite bewildering.

The red bull video is really interesting isn't it. I love how Stephen O'Malley is a real artist and totally into every facit of how the band looks, sounds - right down to the typeface he chooses for the stage layout diagrams. Total minimalist.
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Re: Sunn O)))

Postby mojo filters » Sun Apr 23, 2017 11:12 pm

scoz wrote:I guess the difference between seeing them in their own right which I haven't and at a festival which I have. is they control the sound system when it's just them playing while at a festival it's the festival the supplies it. A while back I saw some macho idiot saying bascially "wooo I saw Sunn o))) without earplugs and my ears are still ringing a week later woo".

(snip)


Don't be so quick to assign blame to festival sound vs venue installs. Obviously the latter have the opportunity to optimise and refine their house system, but not at every venue. Some rely on hired-in sound, or tired and badly-deployed equipment ... or sometimes both. Having "control" in the way you describe, can be a double-edged sword.

By contrast festivals now have much more powerful tools available, to optimise their temporary sound systems. For example Martin Audio's innovative post-line array MLA uses modern technology to put sound where it's needed, as well as employing the significant "hard avoid" functionality that avoids putting sound in places that would cause problems - such as reflective surfaces that send delayed interference back towards the audience, causing comb-filtering and similar types of unpleasant artefacts, resulting from multiple sound waves combining at various times in their cycle, polluting the direct sound the audience is supposed to be enjoying.
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