• 2019 split release between Without and Obaku •
Cassette for sale at tridroidrecords.bandcamp.com
Obaku side download at obaku.bandcamp.com
Encapsulating a message of self-discovery and the existential branches of thinking that it creates, Rhode Island’s Obaku and Minnesota’s Without have each offered a transcendental saga to make up this split release. While both wade heavily into the waters of drone, shoegaze, and post-metal, each band has taken a different path toward the same inward exploration, one that, depending on the headspace of the listener, will lead you to vastly different territories and climb through multiple emotions over the course of their tales. These pieces of music unfurl in the way of epic stories, with a clear and defined course yet an unseen conclusion, so that both of the nearly 30-minute songs consistently grab your attention.
Obaku favors a minimalist approach with “Ringing Plain,” through slow guitar progressions and sparse percussion and synths that heighten the impressive detail of the landscape they create in your mind. Within the first eight bars, we can see fog begin to appear along the path they’re showing us, becoming thicker as the tempo mirrors our footsteps, hesitant to continue where we cannot see - making it a fantastic, albeit depressing, parallel to life. Dark folds of anxiety billow through the music wherever the distortion increases, hitting a lower tone where now we catch a glimpse of something through the fog that piques our senses before it disappears, and all we can do is continue to walk forward. This journey focuses the whole of “Ringing Pain” through a cinematic lens, with the way the music climbs through myriad feelings - peaks of curiosity in the quick bends, stark beauty through the high-string notes that float around us, and the absolute dread of the low strings - all through the use of instrumentals where the notes hit the listener like the glint of a star or the calling of a death bell.
On the other side of this release we have Without with their piece “Thaw/Flood,” which immediately calls forth an expansive and spiritual experience for the listener. Whereas Obaku relates a personal journey through the self, Without aims to transcend what is found in our minds alone and reach the unseen places where we can find peace in our daily lives. Blending their styling of drone with psychedelic flair, Without creates lush beauty around the slow development of the body of the track. The guitar carries a somber lead, representative of our feelings of isolation in life and ranging through a progression that at times soothes the listener or, with robust open notes, reminds them of the harsher side of reality. The synths and keyboard sections play a much grander role, surrounding the frame to offer that higher connection we find in things such as nature and humanity and creating a sense of wonder in the music.. Meanwhile, the soaring vocals float through the instrumentals, intertwining amidst everything to form a singular sound rather than one track overlaying others. There is perfect harmony within the piece, with all components integrated and holding tight to each segment in an unbreakable chain, and this offers an experience that is both chilling in its magnitude and comforting in its embrace.
released June 1, 2019
Obaku - Ringing Plain
Recorded by Mark Frede
Alex DeMaria - Guitar
Alex Hamrich - Drums
Suzy Letourneu - Bass
Without - Thaw/Flood
Self-recorded, mixed by Ali Jafaar - Ecstattic Studio
Madalynn Collura - Vocals
Stephen Gregg - Drums
Nick Lambert - Guitar/Keys
Dom Rolando - Guitar
Cover photo by Stefanie Motta
Released in 2019 by Tridroid Records