Home > News & Reviews > Barn Owl

Barn Owl - V (Album Review)

Monday, 15 April 2013 Written by Ben Bland
Barn Owl - V (Album Review)

It’s strange to think of Barn Owl as a guitar band but in a sense that is exactly what the duo of Evan Caminiti and Jon Porras are. The smoky soundscaping of latter day Earth and the power of Sunn O))) are the reference points that many will choose to immediately adopt but, on ‘V’, Barn Owl sound more themselves than ever before. This is a release that cements their status as one of the premier acts in the experimental music world.

ImageAt the forefront of Barn Owl’s ever developing repertoire of sounds is the appreciation of rhythm that emerges more solidly on this record than ever before. Minimal beats on ‘Blood Echo’ and ‘The Opulent Decline’ especially present a disconcerting offset to the more familiar trappings of the pair’s feedback loving squalls. It sounds like Barn Owl have left behind cavernous open spaces, the landscapes that were conjured up by their previous efforts, and retired to more claustrophobic environments. More than ever before, ‘V’ sees Barn Owl create an atmosphere of gradually encroaching darkness.

This mood play is evident from the opening strains of ‘Void Redux’, arguably the most “traditional” Barn Owl track on the album, but it reaches its height on the seventeen minute closer, the aforementioned ‘The Opulent Decline’. Rather than resorting to the basic volume tricks of many similar artists, Barn Owl build up a wall of enclosure around their listeners utilising more subtle techniques. Sound descends and shimmers, and it is only during the closing moments that you realise you are being hemmed in by the dense, thick slabs of noise. Guitars are still obviously in issue throughout, but it is the regular use of eerie synths that really emphasises the understated embellishments Barn Owl have made to their sound here, and nowhere is it more effective than on this mammoth closing statement.

A record that should appeal to noise geeks then, but ‘V’ is not inaccessible. I am not the only one to suggest that Barn Owl are an obvious entry point to new drone listeners, and ‘V’ is certainly far from a bad place to start for those wishing to enter into more experimental climbs. This is a slice of superb atmospheric creation, and a wonderful addition to an already excellent catalogue of releases from San Francisco’s finest perpetrators of fuzzed out musical fascination.

‘V’ is out now via Thrill Jockey. Barn Owl tour the UK this month:

Apr 26th - The Cube, Bristol
Apr 27th - St. Paul’s Church, Birmingham
Apr 28th - The Old Hairdressers, Glasgow
Apr 29th - Wharf Chambers, Leeds
Apr 30th - Green Door Store, Brighton
May 1st - The Lexington, London

Click Here to Compare & Buy Barn Owl Tickets.

We don't run any advertising! Our editorial content is solely funded by lovely people like yourself using Stereoboard's listings when buying tickets for live events. To keep supporting us, next time you're looking for concert, festival, sport or theatre tickets, please search for "Stereoboard". It costs you nothing, you may find a better price than the usual outlets, and save yourself from waiting in an endless queue on Friday mornings as we list ALL available sellers!

Let Us Know Your Thoughts

Related News

No related news to show
< Prev   Next >