Szun Waves - At Sacred Walls

by Brian Lange. Rating:6 Release Date:2016-05-23

Szun Waves’ At Sacred Walls is, according to the band’s website, “a mystical adventure into the realms of free-jazz and shimmering psychedelia”.

Though short, their debut record holds up fairly well as an experimental sort of record. Despite being located London and Sydney, Luke Abbott and Lawrence Pike (two of the founding members) eventually managed to get together during March last year after corresponding via email. They would later join up with Jack Wylie, who had collaborated with Luke previously, to record for three days. Six hours of sessions were whittled down to a six-track LP. 

Their website describes the process: “Luke’s approach was a largely organic one, choosing to record whatever happened in the very first moments of playing together. He describes the act of capturing embryonic ideas for the first time as “the most magical part of the process” – those initial moments that are instinctively fresh and quite singular.”

It is almost an apparent result.   The experimental sounds come with a dream-like quality, that definitely sounds organic in the sense that the record is ‘minimally’ produced.  As an example, you can look at the production quality of a producer like Butch Vig, who goes for repeated sessions and layers upon layers of effects and vocals, or a producer like Flood who likes things to sound more raw, more emotional, rather than technically ‘perfect’.  Luke admits, “I have this slightly romantic notion about music being something that is grown (instead of written)”. Having said that, this LP is in no way amateur, but there is most certainly a little bit of a stripped down and bare bones quality to it.  After all, the trio did get together under the premise that this was something of a side project.

Something positive that can be taken away from this record is the desire for the band to create and collaborate.  In today’s day and age, access to equipment and other means to produce a record with small budget is perhaps easier then ever, allowing for more experimentation and exploration.  Listeners with a respect for such ventures (and an ear for a slightly ambient tone) will undoubtedly appreciate the merits of the music, but they have a ways to go before these guys can make something truly cohesive and worth considering as a powerful conceptual record. 

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