Epic. Sleep's 'Dopesmoker' is one of the heaviest, most powerful pieces of stoner / doom metal to ever be recorded. The intense hour-long song is a journey through sound like no other. It's as if they took the most potent aspects of early Black Sabbath and stretched it out, like a thunderous drone, over the course of three sides of wax. Here is the groundbreaking cut in its entirety plus additional live material from 1994 and 1992, respectively.
Composed in the aftershadow of SUNN O)))'s most recent successes in immersive collaboration -- the group having worked with Scott Walker on Soused, and Ulver on Terrestrials in 2013 and 2014 -- and also from the broad and influential wake of their epitomic Monoliths & , Kannon emerged both independently as a conceptual entity and with roots in the legacies of those projects, yet was fully realized years later in 2015. The album consists of three pieces of a triadic whole: "Kannon 1, 2 and 3." The album celebrates many SUNN O))) traditions; Kannon was recorded and mixed with SUNN O)))'s close colleague and co-producer Randall Dunn in Seattle, in Studio Litho, Aleph and Avast!, and the LP includes performances by long term allies and collaborators Attila Csihar, Oren Ambarchi, Rex Ritter, and Steve Moore to name a few. At the core, the composition centers around the dynamic and intense guitar and bass interplay of SUNN O)))'s founders: Stephen O'Malley & Greg Anderson. It is possibly the most figurative album SUNN O))) has created, which is unusual as they usually dwell in layers of abstraction and subjectivity. On the other hand the album is the most outright "metal" in years, drawing personal associations and memories of cherished albums like Panzerfaust and Twilight Of The Gods again to the forefront of consciousness. Kannon is also very close to the cyclical character of mantra which the band has evolved into as a living creature, the enormity of intense sensate detail and manifestation of the live in concert element of SUNN O))), the organism that has flourished, metamorphosed and transcended tremendously over the past ten years. The literal representation of Kannon is as an aspect of Buddha: specifically "goddess of mercy" or "Perceiving the Sounds (or Cries) of the World." She is also sometimes commonly known as the Guanyin Bodhisattva (Chinese: 觀音菩薩) amongst a plurality of other forms. There is a rich lineage behind this idea tracing back through many Asian belief systems, with as many names and cultural personifications of the idea. SUNN O))) commissioned critical theorist Aliza Shvartz to write text and liner notes around these ideas and topics. She also explores the relations and perceptions to their approach to these ideas via the metonym of music and SUNN O)))'s place/approach within the framework of music and metal overall. The band also enlisted Swiss designer/artist Angela LaFont Bollinger to create the cover artwork, an abstracted sculpture of vision of Kannon. French photographer Estelle Hanania captures portraits of the core trio (Csihar, Anderson, O'Malley) in the impressive and obscurant Emanuel Vingeland mausoleum in Oslo.
The album jacket is a heavy-weight cardboard "tip-on" style that contains two printed inner-sleeves and a fold out "poster" with the lyrics and album credits. This jacket is then encased by a printed velum dust jacket that resembles a dust jacket you would find on a hardcover book. This is then inserted in a poly-bag. Released 19 May 2009Ensemble Arrangements Directed By – Eyvind KangAdditional Ensemble Arrangements – Randall Dunn, Stephen O'Malley, Steve MooreChoir arrangement from Big Church inspired by Dylan Carlson.All songs mixed at London Bridge, Shoreline Nov 08.Aghartha recorded: Litho, Seattle Oct 08; London Bridge, Shoreline Jan 08; Aleph, Seattle Jan 08.Big Church recorded: Litho, Seattle Oct 08; London Bridge, Shoreline Aug 08; Rochuspark, Vienna Aug 08; Aleph, Seattle, Jan 08; Forum Music Village Feb 06.Hunting&Gathering (Cydonia) recorded: Litho, Seattle Oct 08; London Bridge, Shoreline Nov 08; Aleph, Seattle Jan 08.Alice recorded: Litho, Seattle Oct 08; London Bridge, Shoreline Jan 08; Aleph, Seattle Jan 08.Cover is Serra's "out-of-round X" (1999), and was photographed by McKeever.Aziluth/asiyyah Drawing – T. KetolaCyanotypes– Mathilde DarelTriptych Illustration – Cathy WardArt Direction – Stephen O'MalleyPortraits Photography By – Jenn Anderson, Kerry O'Sullivan, Marco Fusinato, Mathilde DarelTeotihuacán Photo – Gisèle VienneWritten By Sunn O)))Produced by Sunn O))) with Randall Dunn & Mell DettmerMastered By Mell Dettmer
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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