Two new side-projects from Locrian guitarist Andre Foisy, the former with David Reed (Envenomist) on keyboards, and the latter a live improvisation trio with Mike Weis (Zelienople) on percussion and Neil Jendon on synths. While the two are distinct projects and releases, there is a certain shared tense bleakness that exists between the two cassettes.
Foisy and Reed’s collaboration is perhaps the one that sounds the most like Foisy's other work, though it stands on its own. The clear, morose keyboard tone atop distant guitar feedback on "Sootfall and Fallout" reminded me a lot of the Apocalypse Now soundtrack, in the best possible way, and Foisy's disembodied screaming adds to that feeling of madness and confusion.
"Ordovician" is not all that dissimilar, but the trumpeting synths and dark, jagged guitar playing gives the entire work a dark majesty that is hard to deny. Even when the closing moments of acoustic guitar seem to drift into brighter territories, there’s still enough squealing feedback and inhuman growls that keep things evil.
The final and longest piece, "Seven Before the Throne," clocks in at over 20 minutes, spreads itself out over the duration while bringing in a slow, malignant feel. The chaos ebbs and flows, like a wave of darkness that covers everything, only rescinding slowly to come back once again. Foisy's guitar eventually comes in, initially as clear individual notes rather than his usual dense distorted clusters. Slowly but surely the track becomes more and more dissonant until finally exploding into a full on singing wall of noise.
In contrast, the trio of Kwaidan's live improvisation feels less focused, but not in a bad way. Opening with sampled strings, there's an erratic, but still structured quality to them, with shrieking feedback like an collapsing metal foundry. Sporadic percussion appears here and there, propelling the performance along with a messy shamble.
At times the mix verges on chaotic and formless, before opening up to allow in more space, allowing in pure guitar to balance out the swelling synths. The performance cycles between ambient space and ambiguous chaos a few more times before coming to its conclusion.
While both of these releases are strong in their own right, I would have to give the edge to Eolomea's tighter structure and composition. The three tracks on that tape feel more fleshed out and fully realized, while at times Kwaidan occasionally drifts into a directionless space, even though those moments are few and far between.