Senking :: Closing Ice (Raster-Noton)

Closing Ice is a great example of how to work in darkness while shedding light without more heat.

Senking :: Closing Ice (Raster-Noton)

In an interview in The Wire circa 1998 or so, Jim O’ Rourke talked about “gestures” in music and how because something was cliched and generally accepted as scary it was used as a “gesture” to indicate the scary part of a popular, mainstream song (he was specifically talking trash about Trent Reznor which I won’t do here though I saw his point). O’ Rourke was describing how it’s harder to make something scary or simply emotive without resorting to cliches and know gestures.

Closing Ice by Senking is a heavy, atmospheric album that conjures a darkness without resorting to the obvious cliches of monumental distortion or sudden tempo changes. Senking doesn’t resort to excess to propel his tracks but employs a conscious awareness to using the tools at hand expertly not forcefully. “Serpent” unfolds into brassy booms over arabic drums slathered in brittle metallic reverb; the sawing melody, such as it is, brings to mind animals fighting in near darkness. “Scouts and Spies” is a subtle opener that brings on unease not by what it does but by what it doesn’t do, which is hammer you over the head with drums or distorted bass and beat you into submission. “Dustclouds” approaches epic territory with live drumming and feedback squealing guitar but never rises into histrionics nor self-parody. “Grolar’s” beatbox groove turns into a thudding original dub step trudge without a drop nor a wub-wub bass in earshot. “Winter Brevet” works a slow, droning grind into your ears for almost two minutes before a skeletal beat comes in, a perfect example of how to do a lot with very little.

It’s a real joy—an ironic thing to say about a dark album like this, but…—when an artist working in a genre so easily overrun with ludicrous noise employs such restraint and thought into making strong music that survives the test of time and surpasses genre expectations. Closing Ice is a great example of how to work in darkness while shedding light without more heat.

Closing Ice is available on Raster-Noton.

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