Extraordinary Experience 1.3: Performance of Sunn 0))) Quintet Live
The second night of Sunn 0))) begins with four black-robed musicians entering a fog filled stage. A veil of blue light is projected from lights above and below the performers. Two organists and two guitarists generate a high-pitch sustained bell-like ringing tone as if rubbing the thin edges of crystal wine glasses in a slowing circular motion. Waiting….waiting… A fifth robed individual enters the center stage with his hooded face down and slowly bows waving out his right arm and then gently bringing it up to grasp the microphone stand with both hands. Turning away from the audience the individual embraces the stand in his hands and draping robe. The microphone is removed from the stand by the vocalist clutching it closely to the loose fabric of his robe. The microphone is raised to his bowed head and the audience patiently waits. Finally, he slowly turns extending his head upward and raising his arms overhead with the microphone in the right hand while carefully holding the cord in the left hand. The cord of the microphone gently sways. The vocalist drops his head downward…
Layers of ambient textures with mysterious creaking sounds occur. The two guitarists stand motionless facing each other from opposite ends of the stage nodding a signal to gently strum. The guitars sounds meld into quiet wavy soft slow sustaining chords and the vocalist is talking in a low deep prophet-like voice reading ancient texts. The vocalist sounds are of English-like words yet, rarely discernible. When he is speaking, with his hands he holds the microphone close to his face occluding his mouth in a long never ending exposition of words. Eventually, he twists his hands as if he might be crafting an imaginary globe and the room goes silent as he holds it out as an offering toward the audience.
The lights slowly shift colors to green as the vocalist waves his fingers in a conducting-like manner. Sounds of the vocalist fade in-and-out back-masking. He begins chanting in a repetitive pattern of unique sounds rising in harmony and falling with a low guttural push that is seemingly gyuoto monk like. The vocalist looks to be trying to connect with something almost trance-like. Two keyboardists hidden behind fog sit behind him layering resonating feedback of organ chime sounds with drones coming from loose undulating guitar strings.
Lights turn to a blood red as the singer turning away from the audience bows his head. Waiting, the soft ambient buzz becomes even quieter. The vocalist raises his arms and microphone now extending his whole body as the sound of the guitar screech comes in and then a tidal wave of feedback saturates the room. The vocalist bends over and covers both his ears as the vibrations from the two guitars and the keyboards create a dense field of sound that is so big and full it is hard to discern anything but a group of wavering frequencies that are amplifying an impenetrable wall of sound. The earthquake-like vibrations continue reminiscent of an ultimate glacial vibration like an iceberg that is barely revealed through its surroundings. The vocalist screams building a crescendo of echoes increasing in volume, density, and speed blending with the colossal vibrations of the room. A keyboardist switches to using a trombone mimicking the unending wailing howls of the vocalist. Gradually the sounds of the other keyboard and guitars begin slowing in a descent of quietness with the high-pitch piercing shrill of screams continuing on and on. Finally, the screamers shouts begin to decrease in density as he moves to a kneeling position and bows his head to the floor.
Continue reading on the two-day event with reflections in Extraordinary Experience 1.4…