Earth, O Paon | Mayne Stage | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Earth, O Paon 

When: Wed., June 8, 8:30 p.m. 2011
Price: $15
It's been six years or so since guitarist Dylan Carlson launched the reinvented version of his seminal doom-drone band, Earth, with drummer Adrienne Davies (who's even more mesmerizing onstage than he is); now they have two new members, bassist Karl Blau and cellist Lori Goldston. Their first album with this lineup, Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I (Southern Lord), doesn't depart radically from the dusty, twangy, pitch-black crawl that Earth Mark II adopted right out of the gate: the heaviness comes from implication, from tension, and from strange flourishes of complexity in their minimalist Morricone-ish metal. The music might seem to describe a wide-open space—you could call it the soundtrack to a spaghetti eastern, set on the volcanic plains of Mordor—but you're hemmed in by eruptions of poison gas and sudden spurts of flame. It takes close listening, and perhaps a level of patience that could be mistaken for fatalism, to really unpack this album's subtle, sometimes physically uncomfortable joys, like the regal underbuzz in "Father Midnight" or fractal repetition of the 20-minute title track. But it's hard to imagine anyone in the rock department of the long-attention-span theater providing a more rewarding journey this year. —Monica Kendrick

Both in her previous solo guise, Woelv, and as O Paon, comic artist and illustrator Genevieve Castree has made hypnotic music pulsing with dark undercurrents. Castree, who lives in Anacortes, Washington, recorded last year's beautiful, self-released Courses during four informal sessions in Montreal, aided by key members of the city's underground community—Thierry Amar of Silver Mt. Zion created arrangements and played a bit of bass, for instance, and Sophie Trudeau added violin on three tracks. Atop simple electric-­guitar loops, occasionally fortified with string counterpoint, hovering atmospherics, or sparse, heavy drumming, Castree sings in spellbinding French (she was born in Loretteville, Quebec), harmonizing with herself via additional looping. The music is restrained and minimal, but Castree charges it with a riveting focus—her power may be gentle, but it can still grab you by the collar. —Peter Margasak



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