Tuesday, October 18, 2011

HEINALI and MATT FINNEY - Ain't No Night CD review

Paradigms Recordings
Genre: Avant-Garde/Drone
Rating: 5/5

For some metal fans when the discussion of non traditional metal is brought up their reaction is similar to sticking a cross in Dracula's face. Even though I consider myself knowledgeable and open minded to an extent there are times when I'm ignorant when it comes to non traditional metal's more avant-garde acts. Just because I've said some good things about SUNN-O))), BONE OWL and the second BORIS release doesn't make me an expert let alone a fan. So when this one came in I wanted to pass on reviewing it. Then I figured that HEINALI and MATT FINNEY are about as extreme as it gets when it comes to their music. So I tried to find a guest writer to review it. You would have thought I asked someone to fuck a disease ridden crack whore without a condom. So since no one would come to my aid I opened a fresh pack of smokes, popped open a beer and pushed play.

After two spins of this the only safe word I could come up with was drone. The band's promo material (they're a duo) did provide a few more descriptive words for ignorant fucks like me to use. Unfortunately I'm not one of those promo pack copying indie rock loser schmucks who cut and paste every little detail for lack of original thought. Secondly (cue quiet voice) I particularly don't care to use the word "doomgaze". For me what this duo creates musically is Drone. Although I also added "avant-garde" in the genre description because after twenty years of writing about extreme music I've learned an important lesson. Posting "avant-garde" is to pretentious music snobs like yelling "free meth" is in a biker bar. Not only is this act a duo they are fairly unique in that Heinali (who's from the Ukraine and is responsible for composing the music) and Matt Finney (who's from Alabama and is responsible for writing the lyrics along with providing the vocals) have never met each other face to face.

Now if you think that's a little uncanny guess what, these guys have put out four releases together of ambient drone. I've never heard anything by them before. That alone is why this one here needs some investigating. Ain't No Night contains four cuts and it's important to note that Matt Finney's contribution falls more under spoken word poems. If you're familiar with some of the recent releases by ALCEST then you will get a feel for HEINALI and MATT FINNEY. The first cut "In All Directions" is eleven minutes of bleak ambient pain from Heinali's Spanish Inquisition style of guitar torture in order for it to release excruciating noise. Finney's words softly flow over all of this at certain points which just makes it all even more uncomfortable. The second track “Tinderbox” actually has something of a beat to it with some decent bass drum and snare usage and pushes things into a more fuzzy psych level of drone. The third cut “Ain’t No Night” is the biggest surprise on here since it lays awash with electronica for a little bit but then switches off to pure minimalism. At times I was imagining Finney as a beatnik poet while jazz/blues influenced drone spills out on the floor like liquor poured from a bottle.

The final track “Hallelujah” starts off with a gentle piano that switches to something which sounds like an electric fence on the fritz. Heinali is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist who is probably torturing a guitar to it's ultimate limits to create such distortion. One wonders if he's even allowed in a guitar store in his native country once the clerks realize what he's really up to. “Hallelujah” also showcases Finney’s most direct spoken performance on here. It's as if he's a spirit in the room with you (something of which I do have experience with). Finney invokes an unsettling feeling of misery throughout the composition until the end where you're expecting him to say "the sun will come out tomorrow" as an offer of hope. He doesn't, actually the song ends with a snap of a snare drum but you know the sun will rise tomorrow and life will continue as normal until you get this duo's next release. I come away from this not as a new fan but with a better appreciation for the talent involved in creating this release. Although I'm still a ignorant fuck when it comes to drone.

Label: http://www.paradigms-recordings.com/

Bandcamp: http://heinaliandmattfinney.bandcamp.com/

Sorry no new video material but here's something you will enjoy.

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