Sadness Saturn/Golden Raven Split CS

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So we begin this blog’s musical portion with a recent acquisition of mine, the split cassette from Sadness Saturn and Golden Raven. Each of these projects is a solo venture from one of the two founding members of the group Servile Sect, with whom I must admit I’m not yet familiar. Sadness Saturn belongs to Luke, while Golden Raven is the project of Nhate, also known for his work in the mighty Ash Borer. The packaging for this cassette is simple and gorgeous. Jon Clue’s artwork is beautiful and chaotic, which perfectly matches the music contained on the purple cassette. While I’m not a leading authority on art and packaging, I appreciate an attractive jacket with my cassette, and this one meets my standards.

Sadness Saturn’s side of the cassette starts things off with the slow, murky track “Impermanence in Chains”. The production is fuzzy, so folks who prefer their music polished may require a few listens before grasping the intensity of this music. The vocals are pretty traditional as far as black metal style goes, but the effect paired with the dense music is ominous. Rather than sounding like the typical solo project of a bedroom warrior, this sounds like it was recorded in an ancient, torch-lit cave. Primal and bleak are the words I’d use to describe this side of the split. Instead of a typical break between songs, “Impermanence in Chains” bleeds into the second track, “The Dark River of Self-Destruction,” which is essentially a noise/drone piece. If the first track was the sound of ancient man speaking across time, this is the cold howl of a blizzard from the ice age. Rather than being mellow or simple, this is a pulsing horror with distant elements of melody buried beneath layers of churning sound. As a new listener to this group, I’m quite excited to see this project grow and release new music. They also have a couple of older releases out, which I plan on examining soon–you’d be wise to do the same.

Turning the tape over, we come to Golden Raven’s side of the split. While there are four songs listed, they blend into one seamless piece of music, much like Sadness Saturn’s contribution. Whereas Sadness Saturn’s music is bleak and fuzzy, Golden Raven relies more heavily on electronics and effects to create an atmosphere. “Nostril Re-Breather” starts with warm humming sounds over a simple melody. Listening to this, I almost feel like I’m a dust particle suspended in a light beam, drifting around in a little weightless world that is surrounded by darkness. I’m not often exposed to music like this, so it’s really hard to draw comparisons, but this music is immense. I couldn’t imagine putting this on in the background while going about other tasks, because this is the kind of music that really rewards the active listener. When the incredibly spaced-out vocals come in during the section titled “Bear Forest,” the building noise turns to a wall of dissonant bliss as the vocals take the front. Eventually this gives way to the final section of the tape, “Astral Aquatica Gastropoda,” which serves as a denouement of sorts to the intense build of this side of the split. While hardly a mellow tune, this is certainly the friendliest section of tape for those seeking beauty. Golden Raven has no other releases that I’m aware of, but as with Sadness Saturn, I highly recommend keeping an eye on this group if you’re into dense atmospheres and electronic bliss.

While this tape was originally released on Handmade Birds, they’re long sold out. Only 100 were printed, so keep an eye on discogs and you just might be able to get your hands on this masterpiece.

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