THE HOWL ENSEMBLE / LÄRMSCHUTZ “Faux Amis Vol. 6” C40 (Faux Amis)

The Howl Ensemble formed like Voltron at the second Howl Fest, held March 30, 2019, somewhere. Space and time are essentially irrelevant, but I’ve given you a date, and the Howl Ensemble spent about 22 minutes on this thing, so there are two pieces of information that place you somewhere on a timeline at two different points (one the initial performance, the second the 22 minutes it takes you to listen to the Howl Ensemble’s side). The septet, made up of electronic and acoustic instruments, lays it on thick with a heavy, HEAVY drone, not one for the faint of heart and one I certainly wish I would’ve been able to check out in a live setting. The Howl Ensemble simply bowls you over with waves upon waves of colossal sonics. I’m not going to guess on this stuff because I’m going to look foolish, but I how is this not an entire symphony testing the very limits of their instruments? All at once and without reprieve?

Then there’s our old friends Lärmschutz, whom I’ve covered extensively now here and at Tabs Out, and whose split series on Faux Amis reaches its sixth iteration with this release. Over the course of the series, Lärmschutz has taken their cues from their splitmates, and here is no different. Submitting a single 18-minute track that drones through the far reaches of our Utrecht heroes’ instruments, Lärmschutz goes all in on the mood, flirting with a similar heavy density as the Howl Ensemble, but ultimately veering a bit into free improv – as is their wont! By the end, chiming guitar and subterranean bass collide into abstract geometric shapes that freeze like ice crystals at the peaks of the highest mountains. And if you’re thinking, “Holy crap, that’s awesome!,” think again – while you’re technically correct, Lärmschutz does “holy crap, that’s awesome” pretty much every day before breakfast. It’s just their thing.

Don’t forget to keep your eye out – one of these per month should have surfaced this year… (with the complete understanding that the year is almost over as you read this).