LISTEN: Ensemble Pearl

Listen to 'Painting On A Corpse', by a formidable new group featuring Stephen O'Malley, Atsuo, Michio Kurihara and more

Ensemble Pearl are set to release their self-titled debut album through Drag City on 18th March. It’s a fearsome proposition – the band consists of Sunn O)))’s Stephen O’Malley alongside Boris drummer/vocalist Atsuo, Michio Kurihara and William Herzog, and the quartet are also joined for the album by Eyvind Kang and Timba Harris. As is to be expected from such a roster, the music itself is dense, cosmic, psychedelic and possesses an instinctive ear for space and weight, evidenced by album track ‘Painting On A Corpse’, of which we’re pleased to be able to offer you a stream – listen via the embed below.

On the whole, Ensemble Pearl is rather more airy than a lot of previous music released by the band’s members – the text accompanying the album’s release makes mention of Link Wray, Hex-era Earth and Tangerine Dream, and all feel like appropriate reference points. So rather than representing a sequel of sorts to Sunn O))) and Boris’ 2006 collaborative album Altar, Ensemble Pearl’s members seem keen to stress this is something very different. The album’s six tracks are heavy, but not in a riff-based way, instead generating intensely charged atmospheres in which individual guitar notes or drum hits can strike with what feels like momentous force.

"These players have all moved air and earth in many other projects and can create monolith and river alike on their own – but for Ensemble Pearl they give and take, knowing and understanding each other’s strengths and lack of weakness," says the press release. "Rather than blast sheets of air-filling sound, their contributions float the space with positive and negative dynamics. There are no borders being patrolled, allowing Ensemble Pearl to move from place to place unhindered. Over the course of six sides of music (and four sides of vinyl) they ride the jet stream as the world revolves slowly below, static almost, shimmering imperceptibly, mostly water. In and amongst the sprays of foam, there’s a wash of twin-lead psych-proggery, a raft of tribal-beat sun worship, a passing rumble of neck-stretching, some delicate noise-blowing, a bit of float-and-drone and finally, a majestic drift into the deep waters of dub atmosphere."

Ensemble Pearl will be released on 2xLP/CD/digital via Drag City on March 18th.

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