Blimey, we’ve obviously reached the ‘distressed cacophony of noise’ section of NE2018, haven’t we?
‘Cold Air’ is an absolutely overwhelming coronach of anguished turmoil, occasionally above which legitimate choonz like Quickening rear their heads momentarily before they’re unceremoniously dragged back down below. It’s a disturbing, harrowing, excruciating and unconditionally essential record.
Yes, it’s very obviously indebted to My Bloody valentine, and drowse (not capitalised again!! What is wrong with people?!) are hardly the first band to burrow that particular field, with Rain Leak being the most obvious hat tip. However, few bands have chosen to quite so aggressively only focus on the darkest and most barbaric elements of Kevin Shields’s sound. I would say that ‘Cold Air’ actually calls to mind the kind of antagonistic ‘anti-music’ that My Bloody Valentine were toying with exploring on their 2013 album, were it not for the fact that I, like everyone else, had forgotten that album ever existed.
As a pop record, ‘Cold Air’ is an absolute failure. As a coherent musical statement even it’s perhaps a little too muddled, distorted and freaking long to be a complete success. However, as a musical depiction of Kyle Bates’s (the only permanent member of the band) struggles with a mental breakdown and wrestles with anti-psychotic drugs, few records have ever dared to be this aurally unflinching and unforgiving in a depiction of a human’s mental state.
Fog Storm pts. 1-4 (Planning For Burial Split)
“This installation showcases four found objects that have been re-engineered into interactive sculptural instruments. The artists use these objects to create sounds and explore their natural surroundings. All music has been created by the artists and was recorded in Skagaströnd using the sculptures, a field recorder, and the computer. Video projections recorded while at living NES Artist Residency around certain regions of desolate Northern Iceland.”
Yeah, erm, guys, I’m actually really busy, so…
Yeah probably too long, but despite the uncompromising extremes of emotion the record scales, ‘Cold Air’ is still a frequently beautiful record. This is one way drowse differ from The Body, as I always struggle to make it through their record yet ‘Cold Air’ is actually a bizarrely pleasant listen.