LIVE REVIEW: Dylan Carlson, David Terry @ The Cluny 2, Newcastle (21.03.19) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Opening for the man who invented drone metal must feel like a thankless task, but by any measure David Terry proves a logical choice. Swapping bass for accordion, the Bong man’s solo set is an exhibit in meditative repetition, permeated by his slo-mo chants and sharp, piercing electrical surges. It’s fiercely disciplined, to the point that you begin to wonder which of his arms is aching more – the one which spent the first 15 minutes holding the same keys, or the one doubtless suffering from repetitive motion strain?

Having pioneered genre tropes in the early ‘90s as the founder and creative force behind Earth, it’s not entirely clear why Dylan Carlson spent more than a quarter century circumventing the use of his own name. Last year, however, saw the Olympia, WA guitarist break that practice with Conquistador, a worthy addition to his canon which offered a more minimal take on the drawn-out riffage of records such as Primitive and Deadly and The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull. The latter’s title track may be an undoubted high point, yet tonight’s solo set is enriched by a binding aesthetic as opposed to individual numbers.

Heavy in tone and searing in volume, Carlson’s guitar is a hypnotic, transformative vehicle, emphasising each note and seemingly dragging songs out for three or four times their actual duration. There’s a broad range of textures too, from the downtuned crunch of the new record’s title track to the absorbing effects bathing another band classic, Old Black. With no backing to flesh out each motif, tonight’s is a more challenging mastery than previous Earth shows – though after an hour of blissful, absorbing drone the urge to bow almost outstrips that to applaud.

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