Cover photo by Ronald Dick.
Sunn O))) and Southern Lord have announced the upcoming release of the former’s first studio album in four years, entitled «Life Metal». Its story begins last year, when the band decided to mark their twentieth anniversary by fulfilling a long term goal of theirs, namely, recording an album with Steve Albini at the Electrical Audio studio. After two meetings dedicated to conceptualising the album between the core duo of Anderson & O’Malley in the spring, they did an early summer pre-production session alongside Tos Nieuwenhuizen on moog at the 606 studios in California.
It was then in July that the band spent two weeks at the Electrical Audio studio. As the press release for «Life Metal» puts it, “the results are astounding: there is breadth and luminosity of colour, it sounds vast.” Greg Anderson revealed in this Stereogun interview, that this was their first ever “all-tape production,” further disclosing that, when it came to mastering, they did a comparative test of digital versus full-on-tape and ended up choosing the latter. The collaborators present in the album are not exhausted by Nieuwenhuizen, further including Icelandic musician Hildur Guðnadóttir, a former collaborator of Múm and Throbbing Gristle, as well as live Sunn O))) guest, Tim Midyett, of Silkworm fame, and Australian composer Anthony Pateras, who “arranged and recorded an incredible contribution of pipe organ for a piece titled «Troubled Air» (titled after an essay by author Aliza Shvarts, who also penned the liner notes for Sunn O)))’s «Kannon») at Schlosskappelle, Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart.” Below, experience the first preview for «Life Metal».
Recall that Sunn O))) will soon embark on an European tour. As we reported last year when the tour was announced, the sessions with Steve Albini yielded not one, but two albums. The second is titled «Pyroclasts», is said to be a “more meditative” record, and will be revealed by Autumn 2019. So far, besides the title, short descriptive, and recording place, it is only known that music for «Pyroclasts» was performed by Stephen O’Malley, Greg Anderson, Tim Midyett, and Hildur Guðnadóttir.
«Life Metal» will be released by Southern Lord on April 2019. More information regarding their upcoming North American an European tours can be found at this location.