Friday, 20 April 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #145 - Black Mountain, "Year Zero: The Original Soundtrack"

The soundtrack for a post-Apocalyptic surf movie, I understand. Mad Max meets Big Wednesday. More of this Apocalypse business. Can't get away from it. (Which I suppose is the point.)

The "Phosphorescent Waves" of the title must refer to some deadly waves and it does sound pretty deadly and cool. More synth than I'd expect from a band from Vancouver with a name like Black Mountain. The next track is mammoth and fuzzy (like a mammoth) and more in line with what I might've expected - fifteen minutes of "Bright Lights". Notes dangle and the music sounds oceanic cold. I wonder whether it works as a mini-version of the film.

The next tune ("Mary Lou") is long too, though only eight minutes. It gets its riff on, swelling up like the ocean do. The choir of a thousand white horses turned black by the poisoned Earth, tumbling over each other to grind their wet, burning hooves in our faces. Acid rock and acid rain in perfect harmony.

"Embrace Euphoria" wanders back over to the electronics. Mumbling entreaties to join the new world ("Come with us/The world is of no use to you any more"). Then the guitars are pounding to a military beat on "Tyrants" and there's even a hint of Led Zep flute and serious gothy warbling. This is a track from an earlier album. We're back for a night up on Black Mountain. Topped off with some pounding surf. Nice.

"Modern Music" is from another, even earlier album, and sounds messy and jazzy sax jizz all over the sheets. Party music in a dubious way. Before "In Sequence" pulls up back under the water into the foamy, electronic deep to hang out with our husky narrator again.  Moroder noises arpeggiate behind and all around and an 808 counts out the beat. Then "Wilderness Heart" delves back into the raawwkk.

The rock/wave thing seems obvious now, but I hadn't fully made the association before now. Rock for the curly, salty stuff up top and the electronics for the cool, scary deep below. It works. It's not astounding, but it works. If only I surfed...

Rating: Pounding Riffs out of Oblivion

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