POCAHAUNTED / ROBEDOOR
Anyway, regardless of whatever's actually true in all the above useless over-thought, I can't imagine that my infatuation with one particular record I just got yesterday is gonna subside anytime soon. The release in question is a double-CD split between two of L.A.'s finest drone/noise outfits, Pocahaunted and Robedoor, slyly titled Hunted Gathering and birthed by the tirelessly awesome Digitalis folks. That "finest" adjective is a bit presumptuous - this is the first I've heard of either - but they both have solid discographies spread across a bunch of exclt labels, and besides, there could be 100 similar groups in L.A. and I still would bet that none have generated anything better than what these two super-creative duos have achieved here, easily one of my favorite releases of any stripe this year.
Other than discographies, there's not a ton of other info out there about these two - all I can tell is that Pocahaunted is Bethany and Amanda, Robedoor is Alex and Britt, and two of the four are married and involved in the excellent Not Not Fun label. Other than that, all you really need to know is locked in the beautiful tones and daunting noises of the eight massive tracks on Hunted Gathering. Generally speaking, Pocahaunted trades in more ethereal seances, while Robedoor are more given to monolithic mega-drones, but both seem capable of either and a lot more. What they have most in common is a wide-open sense of space and time, and a beautiful ability to let their music grow and expand to ideal fruition. Which is why the format of Hunted Gathering works so well: alternating 10-minute-or-so tracks from each group and leading up until a capping 13-minute collaboration, it gives enough room to each to spread out their long tones and swelling ideas without restricting either's ability to get lots of great sonic shots in.
I'm starting to veer into starry-eyed platitudes here, so how about some specifics: Pocahaunted's slow, gentle, yet biting stuff is super hypnotic, and the best example is "Warmest Knives." Though it's raw, echoey, and even kinda dark, this aching cut has a soaring lilt that somehow conjures in my brain what might happen if some of the Dead C.'s meandering guitar chords got lost in the ethereal luggage of both Charalambides (in terms of sky-seeking meditation) and Bardo Pond (in terms of smoke-cloud haze and, especially, Isobel's knack for melting flute strains into psych guitar blasts).
Robedoor don't remind me of quite as many people, though their gravelly drones do call to mind Double Leopards (as does the nice packaging of this gatefolded double CD, which when I first opened it made me think of the packaging of Leps' classic Halve Maen on Eclipse), and even the darkened metal strains of the Earth/Sunn0)))/Southern Lord contingent. Perhaps they'll remind you of someone else, but I'll bet it's someone else awesome. Because Robedoor's thick soundscapes are so full of fine aural silt to sift through - at least that's true of their very highest stuff, like my fave track here, "Razed Terrain," which builds cavernous reverberations and ground-shaking detonations out of hums, howls, moans, and thick sonic wind.
So to make up for last week's emptiness, here are both of the aforementioned tracks...hopefully they'll rattle your cranial components they way they have mine...
ROBEDOOR - "Razed Terrain" from Hunted Gathering