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V/A - The Invisible Pyramid: Elegy Box

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Artist: V/A

Album: The Invisible Pyramid: Elegy Box

Label: Last Visible Dog

Review date: Nov. 8, 2005

Pity the poor reviewer (yours truly) faced with the task of reviewing a 6 CD compilation set -- in this case, that's about 8 hours of music. The ordinary strategy of listening through several times, getting a feel, working it all out...so much for that. No, this is an overwhelming object before me, the monolith of drone.

While there are disadvantages to this release, not to mention impracticalities, you've gotta hand it to the Last Visible Dog label to even contemplate the thing, let alone pull it off. In terms of advantages, bands are given a substantial amount of time in which to frolic and drone, either by offering several tracks or by pulling out the stops and contributing a huge slab of sound that's sometimes more than twenty minutes long. For most of these bands, having the space to stretch is almost necessary to activate their inner selves. Let's face it, three-minute drones don't quite work, do they?

The list of contributors is, of course, endless, including such recognizables as Birchville Cat Motel, Avarus, Bardo Pond, Up-Tight, Ashtray Navigations, Loren Chasse, Steven R. Smith, Keijo, Fursaxa, Miminokoto, and, yes, naturally even more. If you're familiar with the lesser-known folks, such as Seht, Area C, Renato Rinaldi, and Sunken, you're probably

already planning to get this set.

Not content to merely collect the sounds therein, this compilation is also a bit of a concept album. Like the label's previous Invisible Pyramid collection, this one is to some extent dedicated to the writings of naturalist Loren Eiseley, with each artist's contribution specifically dedicated to an extinct species, each of which are described in the booklet (which also contains a rather long-winded essay).

There's really no point in picking specific tracks to describe here, since there are so damn many. The sound generally range from subterranean to hauntingly untethered, with even the "rock bands" not rocking so much as reverberating through Velvet caverns. The more experimental achieve valleys more than peaks, in the head-space where murk is a welcome feeling and it's best to wait until evening to unwrap the thing.

So sit yourself down with a cup of something dark and let it unroll. By the time it's over, the sun will be coming up and you really won't be ready for it, but there's a price to pay for everything, I suppose.

By Mason Jones

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