Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Nonsun - Black Snow Desert

(January 6th, 2016, Independent)

Nonsun, an instrumental duo from Ukraine, released earlier this year their first full-length, Black Snow Desert. The band has been active since 2011, and before this album they had two EPs; Good Old Evil and Sun Blind Me. Considering the lenght of these EPs one would maybe think of them as long-playing albums since each clocks well over 40 minutes. But Nonsun have a tendency of writing very long songs, so each of these EPs holds four tracks. Their latest release holds seven tracks which span over two CDs making this monolith of an album almost hour and a half long. However, they don't write long songs just for the sake of writing long songs. These are well-thought-out compositions which heavily rely on dynamics, atmosphere, sonic experimentations and improvisation. The music, although very slow and minimalistic, is quite unpredictable and in some way exciting. Nonsun experiment with dark, droning, ambient music, heavy doom metal riffing and interesting, haunting, chord progressions, as well as somewhat unusal rhythm patterns. Drumming is at times very laid-back and kind of Pink Floyd-ish (maybe even jazzy), but at other times huge, ground-shaking and very solid.

   What differentiates Nonsun from the sea of today's drone, sludge and doom bands is their specific atmosphere. If we could call Earth's music a soundtrack for post-apocalyptic western, then Nonsun's would be a soundtrack for post-Chernobyl disaster. The whole album makes you feel like you're wandering throuh some dark, dreary, barren wasteland with nothing but heavy grey clouds above and land covered with ashes below. The title of the album describes the music quite correctly as does the minimalistic cover art. There is no sun and no life on this forsaken land, only a black, cold desert and grey sky which embraces it on the horizon. 

   Although the description of the music might sound disturbing and depressing, I myself found it quite soothing. It is really an ambiental record more than anything else, but fans of heavy riffing will definitely also find satisfaction, as will the lovers of experimental and psychedelic music.

  Nonsun are a very promising band which should, in my humble opinion, get much more recognition, and Black Snow Desert is definitely their best effort to date. I highly recommend you to give them a listen and take a walk through the ruins of Pripyat.

- Luka


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