There are profound forces that enmesh the minds, bodies, and souls of these venerable artists. Mamiffer unfurls darkened hymns and sprawled abstractions authored by Faith Coloccia in partnership with Aaron Turner. Daniel Menche stands as a stalwart noise technician of many years, with his blood and sweat permeating all of his adrenaline fueled recordings and performances. Collectively, they design sound to slip between the formally defined practices of metal, noise, song, and drone, offering a phenomenological essentialism that amplifies and exaggerates the earthly elements of water, moss, soil, and fire. This can be a sonic transubstantiation of field recordings and in situ object documents from Coloccia and Turner’s home on Vashon Island, Washington; and this can be the aestheticized forms of mythic poetry cast through austere melodies for guitar, piano, electronics, and plainsong chant.
The communal production took four years to develop with a few performances that spilled forth. Menche, for one, abhors the notion of collaboration, preferring to qualify this as a documentation of their friendship. “’Collaboration” sounds so... business like or formal or something of a technical term. We’re just friends making acoustic sounds together and recording nature with our hikes together. Then we eat pizza and laugh.” This relational intimacy and interpersonal development brings an understanding of each other’s strengths, and from that understanding, the conviction to extract out the very best that each has to offer. From Menche’s perspective, Coloccia projects a nearly religious capacity for harmony and melody; Turner has grace and fury in his DNA; and Menche quips about his own work: “I’m a chainsaw artist making those touristy statues of grizzly bears but instead of wood I’m using sound.” Ellipses of guitars and piano sparsely populate this album. Upon appearance, these forms are progressively dissolved into a dislocation of machined noise and wintry drone, abraded with the tactility of stone and iron. It can become difficult to determine where the province of negation ends (e.g. emptying the musical structure as a simulacrum of the sublime) and that of accretion begins (e.g. layer upon layer of noise, pressure, and volume to feed a collapse). In this liminal iceblink, the work of Mamiffer and Menche is resoundingly heroic, tragic, haunted, cold, and beautiful. To Menche, though, “this is a very humble recording. When we’re old and grey and come across this in a old dusty box, we’ll have a warm smile. Maybe we’ll play it on our death bed?!?!”