A site I spend a lot of time on is last.fm. It is a great site, really addictive: it is easy to lose hours trawling through it, the same way you would stumbling wikipedia articles: every new band, every sound snippet takes you closer to the musical zenith, the audial singularity.
The one problem I do have with the site is that bands with the same name are lumped together on the same page, so the discography section and playlist are a wierd mish-mash of tracks by the band you are after, jumbled with assorted awful nonsense.
Due to the enormous number of bands that have existed or currently exist, that this problem arose is not surprising, especially when musicians choose a single word or common phrase as a title to make music under.
So on coming across, let us pretend, for the first time, the page of a band called Earth, you might think to yourself: hmmm, a fairly generic name, surely there are lots of bands with that name.
Then you listen to a track.
Slow waves of crunching distortion dragging you in like a black hole, metal drawn out, taken to its natural, logical conclusion.
So you trot off around the internet to find some more, you download an album: you recognise the title from the last.fm discography page.
But when you play it, your speakers emit not a a gut-wrenching rumble but a pure, ethereal twang, a wholetone, austere and defined. The holy note, like the “om” of some far-eastern hymnal.
But the band is right, right? The name of the album is right? So why is the music different?
The mystery lies in the fact that within Earth lie two bands, distinct in time but continuous in vision, the masterpiece vision of one Dylan Carlson stretched over decades, one note stretched out, interlaced, augmented and stripped down.
One band, within the drone.
This excellent documentary follows the band reinvigorated, after years of musical drought, emerging with a new sound and the best material of their careers, documenting the transition of the band from inside and out.
It follows them on tour as they debuted their new album ‘Hex: or Printing in the Infernal Method’, getting to grips with their new music and new audience.
[Fanboy moment: included is footage of their 2005 concert in the Medicine Bar in Birmingham supporting Sunn O))). This was the first time I had seen either band, and as you can imagine, I totally lost my shit. Upon seeing this footage I was delighted that they had played slower in Birmingham that anywhere else on tour.]