Winnipeg artist Curran Faris has been recording under the moniker of Greenhouse for quite some time, with multiple releases on regional label Prairie Fires. His most recent, Cold Wires (out from Dub Ditch Picnic) has been in semi-regular rotation in my household for the past few months, as its subtle yet unavoidably present contents have been a great companion for some of the major life changes I’ve undergone lately. While the music Greenhouse makes has its roots in drone, there is much more going on here (and on any Greenhouse release) than a simple label like that might imply. Let’s take a closer look.
Utilizing only a guitar, numerous effects, and select field recordings, Greenhouse generates sounds far more emotive and reflective than one would imagine. This isn’t the guitar-driven experimentation of artists like a death cinematic, but rather the guitar becomes the vehicle for all sorts of swelling and flowing sounds that seem to come from one emptiness to fill another. The album begins with the title track, which is resonant and chilling, with the opening minutes hovering somewhere between tones of meditative singing bowls and the unsettling depths of drone’s darker, more ominous corners. Still, as “Cold Wires” snakes its way slowly into full view, around five minutes in, layers begin to distinguish themselves, creating the sensation that one is looking out at the world throw a window that is covered by a thin coat of ice. There is both beauty and distance portrayed here, almost breathtakingly so.
As the album progresses, things darken with “Dreadful Beauty,” which leads way for the mental decline of either listener, artist, or perhaps both. Things begin to feel unstable, as the music touches on territory that is often visited in noise albums, yet Greenhouse never fully enters territory that is wholly abrasive or monotonous. Instead, scathing static blankets the background as somber notes loom overhead, haunting in every way imaginable. Even as tracks on the B-side seem to mellow out, the damage has already been done. The glacial beauty of much of Greenhouse’s music takes on a sense of foreboding now that the listener knows the depths Faris will go to in order to create the right atmosphere. Crackles dart in and out, threatening to grow, but the danger never fully returns. Instead, there’s a tense euphoria to the whole experience that pairs the thrill and trauma of passing through something so dark nicely. Whether it’s the pulsing anxiety of “Sick Breath” or the near-celestial beauty of “Chatter,” this album’s only constant is that it maintains a surreal quality that is equally beautiful and troubling.
Tapes are sold out, from the label but the artist still has copies of the cassette. Send him an email at email@example.com if you’re interested in owning a physical copy. If you’re into the downloading side of things, you can visit the label’s bandcamp and purchase this album. Listen now, buy when you’re finished, and you’ll feel thoroughly satisfied.