Crucial Blast has supplied us with plenty of head melting, ear shredding pummel over the last few years, Skullflower, Genghis Tron, The Mass, the Goslings, but they have a soft side as well, not really 'soft' exactly, but a little bit more, well, blissful. Thus we have Crucial Bliss, a sublabel dedicated to more blissed out drones and dense dark ambience.
We had never heard Encomiast before, but this release most definitely has us kicking ourselves.
Beginning with some drifting flute passages, these forest flutters are soon consumed by a thick churning wall of white noise, before everything suddenly blissed out into a dense drone, rife with deep reverberations, and grinding industrial ambience. Where as most drone records fine a sound, and just let it drift on and on and on, the tracks on Havens never stop shifting, sounds morph into other sounds, murkiness becomes crystal clear, before slipping into lo-fi hiss again, metallic sounds soften, dreamy fluffy smears harden and become spikey and dangerous. It's always dreamy and droney and moody and gorgeous, but each track is so dense with subtle shadings and is an exhaustive journey through an endlessly shifting soundworld. Equal parts Andrew Chalk, Troum, My Bloody Valentine, Jonathan Coleclough and Wolf Eyes, the duo of Ross Hagen and Megan Garland weave programmed rhythms, field recordings, guitars, flute and vocals into completely immersive and endlessly fascinating soundscapes. Delicate and beautiful, but at the same time harsh and threatening.
Definitely one of our new favorite 'drone' records. Absolutely recommended.