Anyone who’s ever spent several hours in the belly of a cross-channel ferry buried in some cramped sleeping quarters just a little too close to the giant ship’s engine should know what ‘drone’ music sounds like. Indeed, to the uninitiated it can seem like a daunting experience when the first five minutes goes by and you’re not sure if the music’s started, your stereo is on the blink or whether your tinnitus is playing up again. But very rarely does engaging with this kind of music leave patience unrewarded – since you’d have to be of a certain calibre of musician to even attempt to entertain with this stuff. At its very best this sort of music can be a truly evocative experience or else paint pictures in open minds that typical four-by-four arrangement never will.
And so it is with Twinesuns who clearly regard percussion as something for amateurs and prefer to rely on the metronomes in their heads to keep their elephantine meanderings as tight as they do. The trio combine guitars, moog synthesizers, amplifiers, cabinets and pedals in a symphony of drone that veers from feeling like the perfect background to a yoga class into anvil-heavy riffs so concrete-thick they make Black Sabbath feel like the soundtrack to a children’s birthday party.
The Empire Never Ended is probably not going to be the thing you’d slap on for your next dinner party. Unless you wanted all your friend to leave. I would more imagine the music blasting out of a side room in some darkened cigarette-smoke-filled party-dilapidated squat where each and every moment can be savoured as it lingers through the air. The crushing heaviness at times sounds like some busy cosmic pathway where planets collide and giant alien intellects communicate through the vacuum with chunks of telepathic distortion.
But Twinesuns is certainly not the impenetrable mindfuck presented by some adherents to the drone faith. At times there’s even a discernible musical track that rears up through the soundscape – albeit one travelling at a pace that the less observant might not even notice. And there’s an ambient quality to The Empire Never Ended that means it slowly begins to take on a more solid form – something or somewhere to lose yourself within, letting your mind and emotions wander as the music takes over and allows you to contribute to the sum of the parts.
All very deep. But what would you expect from this sort of stuff? Where the quality of the art is undisputable and your level of enjoyment probably depends on the effort you are prepared to put in yourself. The Empire Never Ended is not a game changer or anything that I could say will barge aside all its peers. But it’s another mark of quality in a scene where the possibilities still, even after all this time, seem endless.
(7.5/10 Reverend Darkstanley)