For a relatively small and minimally-populated province, Saskatchewan sure seems to produce some distinctly hypnotic – and hellish – music.
Maybe it’s the weird weather.
Whatever the case, strange and distinctly dystopian, Black Tremor’s debut EP Impending sounds a lot like a blissful disaster-in-the-wings, a zone-out that has a surprising amount of patience and temper given the chaotic nature of its parts.
Originally an instrumental duo of bass and drums, Black Tremor managed to rattle more than a few windows under this spell of a line-up. Live, there was constant ominous clatter that seemed to bubble and simmer yet never quite reach the fevered pitch. Meditation for the rest of us.
The group has since expanded their sound, adding a third dimension to a minimal attack. And, having heard both version of Black Tremor, it’s hard to imagine a time when violinist Amanda Bestvater wasn’t adding additional layers of flowing instrumentation amidst the rumble.
Mixed by Steve Reed and mastered by John McBain, Impending features four tracks and clocks in at just over the half-an-hour mark. Opening track “Church” opens with creeping noise, setting the stage for what? Bassist Alex Deighton spends the entirety of the EP coaxing out a variety of tones that all seem to emanate from a singular sound. Notes slide here and there but don’t really lead in one direction or the other. Instead, step back and think of it not as a journey through the forest but rather an envelope of a mountain landslide.
It’s not just pure trance-and-drone though. The group doesn’t forget to occasionally get down with their bad selves.
On the final track, roughly around the halfway mark, “Impending” suddenly sheers away from the end-times dust tracks and takes a rolling swan dive into slow-burn grooves that alternate between slide leads and a rumbling low end that could be the final rock-out performance of a pick-up out of time and out of gas.
You know, because the world is running out of gas. Forever.
Hopefully when that happens bands like Black Tremor will still find a way to make that earthly noise.