Earth was formed in Olympia, Wa. In the early 90s’ by Dylan Carlson. In those days some of the members of Earth included Slim Moon (later to found kill rock stars), and Greg Babior. The original lineup was 2 guitars, vocals, and various old analog synths. After moving to Seattle, Slim Moon and Greg Babior exit… Dave Harwell and Joe Preston join the group. With this lineup Earth records in Portland, Oregon at Smegma Studios with Mike Lastra. Kurt Kobain (Nirvana) and Kelly Canary (Dickless) both contribute vocals to this session. Sub Pop becomes interested after seeing Earth perform live and agree to release the Portland sessions as the : “Extra Capsular Extraction” EP. The release is now legendary for its ultra heavy and slow mammoth riffing. Taking Sabbath and the Melvins to a entirely slower sub-level!
The lineup strips down to a two piece (Dylan and Dave ) when Joe Preston is asked to join the Melvins. Earth record their next album “Earth2 ” in August 2002 at Avast studios with Stuart Hallerman at the helm. Many consider this record a definitive statement of the drone triumphant. Others merely see it as the inevitable ressult of the damage downers do to perception of time and duration. Whichever the case its influence is absolutely undeniable. If it wasnt for this album bands like sunn0))) wouldnt even exist! Shortly after the release of Earth2, Dave leaves Earth. In the fall of ’93 recording begins on Phase3: Thrones and Dominions. Joining Dylan for these sessions is Tommy Hansen (formerly of the Fartz and Crisis Party) and Ian Dickson on guitars. Phase 3 is finished a year later (fall ’94) with Rick Cambern on drums for one track. After many trials and tribulations Phase 3 is finally released by Sub Pop in April ’95. Ian Dickson becomes a permanent memberis of Earth and the lineup is now (Dylan and Ian). In February ’96 2 new members are added to the group; Shawn McElligot on lead guitar and Mike McDaniels on drums. The group travels to Studio .45, (which happens to be in the old Colt manufacturing plant) in Hartford, Connecticut to record with Mike Deming.”Pentastar” (In The Style of Demons) is a result of the Connecticut sessions and is released July 23rd 1996 on Sub Pop. This is a Earth ROCK album. Bass, drums, guitars and (some ) vocals. It is the most “traditional” sounding Earth album recorded. After the release of this album the “group” disbands and Earth/Dylan Carlson go on hiatus.
After a re-issue of some older demos and live recordings (“Sunn amps and Smashed Guitars – Live on No Quarter records ), Earth becomes active once again with the addition of Adrienne Davies on drums. Earth unveils it’s new cleaner, sparser, and more improvisational style. In September of 2002 Earth embarks on a week long tour of the east coast. Earth performs as a drums and guitar duo for the first time. In March of 2003 Earth headlines a Southern Lord showcase at the SxSW festival in Austin, TX. with this same lineup. In 2003 they also also embark on a European tour with KK Null. In 2004 Dylan and Adrienne prepare intensely for the recording of their next album. Meanwhile, in early 2005 No Quarter and Southern Lord release a CD and vinyl version (SLR handles the vinyl) of remixes of Earth tracks by Mogwai, Russell Haswell, sunn0))), Jim O’Rourke, Justin broedrick, and Autechre. The album; Legacy of Dissolution is a honorable tribute to the legacy of one of the most important experimental musical groups of our time.
With renewed vigor and new direction Earth returns September 2005 with their first studio album in 9 years. With each album released, EARTH progresses and diversifies their sound, pushing all boundaries of preconceived perceptions. “Hex; or Printing in the Infernal Method” is absolutely no exception. Once again EARTH has created a intensely powerful album that defies the normal restrictions of a definable genre. The monolithic darkness of previous releases such as : EARTH2 or Pentastar (In the style of Demons) is still very apparent however has now been channeled into a different direction. It is a decided shift away from an overly saturated and distorted guitar sound, and explores some of the earlier forms of modifying pure guitar tones, using compression, echo, tremelo, and reverb. It is a specifically ‘american’ style.(“Black Americana”)?
The playing on this album is determined and bursting with reborn confidence. The opening track: “Mirage/Land of Some Other Order” effectively establishes a decided country/western aura throughout the album with “relaxed” tones that are reminiscent of a immense desert landscape at dusk. It is a sound that innjects the influence of country guitarists/songwriters such as: Duane Eddy, Merle Haggard, Roy Buchanan and fuses it with the vibe of epic visionary composer: Ennio Morricone. Beautifully darkened, huge chords that resonate very slowly with every single note played with passionate conviction. “Left In The Desert” and “Tethered To The Pole Star” contain a similar atmosphere to many of these songs as it invokes a feeling of slight hope after sentiments of despair. Besides the western emanations, “Hex” also incorporates moody, anthemic Rock and Blues within the song structures. Raiford (The Felon Wind) and “A Inquest Concerning Teeth” reveal influences such as: Neil Young (especially the “Dead Man” soundtrack), and Billy Gibbons. As in the past (“EARTH2”) where EARTH took the heaviness of Black Sabbath, Melvins etc. and made it even slower and more mammoth, with “Hex” they have incorporated these new influences into a innovative sound all their own. Its a sound that is bold, vital and as essential as anything they have ever done in the past.
And now for a few words from our man himself: Dylan Carlson (regarding the evolution of the Earth sound…..)
“The ongoing musical project which is earth has always been concerned with repetition and the drone or THE NOTE. When I was younger and full of hubris I believed that a “pure” or “original” music could be developed in a static and removed state from other music. I now realize that music, especially music containing the drone or THE NOTE, and music that effects a spiritual reaction from the listener is a continuum. It is a music that has continued throughout time and manifested itself in a number of different forms or “genres” or”styles”. I began to see my music as part of and a product of that continuum. I also began to see that continuum strongly expressed in historically ‘american’ forms. Specifically the “genres” of “country” and “blues”. The truly ‘cosmic american musics’. This specifically ‘american’ style also got me thinking of the history of this continent. A continent of formerly endless frontiers. I was heavily influenced by the book “Blood Meridian; or the Evening Redness In the West”. A book that explores the real western expansion and real clash of people on this newest continent. It has been a continent that from the beginning has been alien and hostile yet posessing a bewithcing beauty. ” A land of some other order. Whose geology is not of stone ,but of fear.” There is an occult history to this continent, one of a continent evil in and of itself, a continent which the inhabitants have had to suffer mightily to carve their various “New Jerusalems” out of. An infernal landscape which requires, from us, a song. Dylan Carlson summer 2005.”
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