Wednesday, February 27, 2008

COLOSSUS "Throne" (Heavy Nature Tapes)

It's been a long minute since Ryan LaLiberty's solo project first appeared here. Long, that is, considering the bewildering avalanche of new releases that comprises tape culture. As "Throne" makes evident, LaLiberty has devoted some considerable energy to focusing his sound since earlier recordings. Happily, the practice is paying off, as this tape shows a more mature, all around greatly improved Colossus.
Both sides are divided into segments, most being rough cuts which jump directly into the action. The pieces vary in mood but atmospherically keep spelunking in the same caverns. Colossus is still a guitar-dominated project, and one could easily trot out the usual Earth/Sunn0))) references to describe the buzzing resonance and low-end amp worship. But "Throne" does wander off that much beaten (though still enjoyable) path several times, and there finds its greatest strengths. Side A's closer "Dod Djur" is one of the more psychologically affecting creepy crawls this reviewer can remember of late. With hissing voices shifting backwards and forwards, insect noises, swamp gurgles and a rumbling bass that's faint enough to be felt more than heard, it could be the result of an ill-fated walkman left for some overnight field recording in Mordor. "Throne" also bears the distinction of a multitracked work which sounds more like a live group session than something extensively recorded over. Particularly in the way which LaLiberty experiments with vocals and subtle background noises, one can pick out inflections of early industrial music, which is unusual for a young project these days. It's disheartening that "Throne" lacks in the edition department (only 30 copies?), since the recording and the insert (black print with stamped/lithographed appearance on dark heavy paper) make for a solid combo.

www.myspace.com/collossusnh
www.blogspot.com/heavynaturetapes