Sunn 0))) Shows All Sides On Monoliths And Dimensions
Ten years into their existence, Sunn 0))) (pronounced ‘Sun”) continue to confound, blurring the line between distorted post-rock and experimental music. And while their vision remains unchanged, their acceptance over the last decade has afforded the band the time and ability to experiment even more, which is evident on their seventh album, ‘Monoliths and Dimensions,’ which comes out on May 26. “We took a really long time making the record and it took longer to develop,” band co-founder and guitarist Greg Anderson says. “And it wasn’t a conscious decision, but as it was developing, I sort of demanded that we give it time to breathe, and that’s how it came out. With the different sort of instrumentation that we worked with on this record, it took longer to develop.”
That instrumentation Anderson refers to runs the gamut from a Viennese women’s choir to a horn section, not to mention conch shell and motorized cymbal, two of the more esoteric instruments credited on the album. Ever-ominous vocalist Atilla Csihar is featured on three of the album’s four songs, most notably on opener “Agartha,” where above a thunderous low end, his terrifying, low, accented spoken vocals grow increasingly insistent over the 17 plus minutes of the song.
While their distorted, detuned low end and noticeable lack of straightforward drumming lets the listener know right away that it’s Sunn 0))), each song on ‘Monoliths and Dimensions’ sounds distinctly different from the last. “Hunting&Gathering” is anchored around a simple distorted riff that’s as close to conventional heavy music as the album gets. “That’s really a nod to where we came from, and being really influenced and fanatical about Earth and the Earth 2 record, and the Melvins, and really heavy riffs,” Anderson says. “This record is a snapshot of everything we’ve ever been about or into.”
There’s even a jazz influence on album closer “Alice,” which ends the album with serene horns and harp. But Anderson makes a distinction between Sunn’s brand of music and their influences. “[Co-founder] Stephen [O'Malley] and I are really into jazz, but we’re definitely not jazz players,” he says. “We’re cavemen, and jazz is a very complicated and amazing type of music that is beyond our playing ability to be honest. But what’s influential about jazz is the spirit and the aesthetic, and that’s how I think we’re using that influence.”