Artists have been covering songs by Galaxie 500 all month in lead-up to the Record Store Day release of G500's live album, Copenhagen, on August 29. Today we get Mark Lanegan who teams with Earth's Dylan Carlson…
Dylan Carlson will be performing "Conquistador" in full at Roadburn 2020 with curator Emma Ruth Rundle joining him on stage for the first time ever. Providing a visual performance will be the star of the "Conquistador" artwork Holly Carlson…
Dylan Carlson is the guitarist and founder of the band Earth, which specializes in drone-based instrumental music. Since the band’s inception in Seattle in 1990, Carlson has worked with a vast array of collaborators—including such notable musicians as Kurt Cobain, Mark Lanegan, and Joe Preston. His work combines a vast and seemingly disparate array of influences, from heavy metal and Indian devotional music to country and North African trance. He also has a solo project called Drcarlsonalbion.
How old were you when you started playing guitar?
Well, I wanted to start playing at about age 11, but I didn’t actually get a guitar until I was 15. I had a friend in high school who was a big prog head—he was super into Yes—and he showed me my first chords. You know, the basics: E, A, D, G, and I was off and running. Then my mom bought me a book on the blues for my birthday the year I got the guitar.
Seattle experimentalists Earth have long dabbled in drone-inflected sonic minimalism. Over the course of their 30 years – and their eight studio albums – they've explored new musical territories and influenced a legion…
For nearly 30 years, Dylan Carlson has occupied an unlikely dual role as a true vanguard of experimental music and an undisputed Lord of the Riff, garnering respect from outer-sound explorers and metal heshers in equal measure.
Earth’s trajectory is not so much of an orbit as it is a deviation. For the past three decades, the only constant for the band headed by Dylan Carlson has been change – which is ironic for a group whose music relies heavily upon repetition.
Earth started out with ground-shaking seismic drone metal on 1993’s Earth 2, then took a left turn in 2005 into the arid West with the Morricone-inspired Hex; Or Printing In The Infernal Method. Almost a decade later, they ventured into meditative rock with Primitive And Deadly.
Now, the band have purged themselves of any embellishments, stripping instrumentation down to Carlson on guitar and bass and Adrienne Davies on drums and percussion. The upcoming record, Full Upon Her Burning Lips, is a lesson in austerity, and spotlights the duo’s sonic symbiosis.
Ahead of the release, we speak with Carlson about the record, his fascination with Telecasterpickups and his favourite collaborations thus far.
Guitarist and bassist Dylan Carlson and drummer and percussionist Adrienne Davies of Olympia, Washington’s Earth return as a duo on Full Upon Her Burning Lips, out via Sargent House on May 24. “I’ve been really fortunate in playing with some great people who I love,” Carlson says. “I just really wanted this album to be the core, and I felt it was the first album where the drums really get to shine.”
“Live, they’re a big part of the show, but on record, especially when you have a lot of extra instrumentation, the drums are sort of in a background role,” he admits. “With this one, I wanted everything—the guitar, the drums, and the bass—all to be very upfront. Previous records that we’ve done have been quite lush-sounding: a lot of reverb and studio glossiness. I wanted this one to be quite dry and everything upfront and raw.”
From soundwaves to landscapes, the sonic experience conjured up by Earth is both a meditative and an immersive one. From having laid the root foundations of rock’s infamous exercise in extreme minimalism with the classic Earth 2: Special Low-Frequency Version, the Seattle-born earth-shakers have braced through the decades carrying a legacy of slow, heavy riffs and long, introspective song-structures with a strong emphasis on repetition. The band has kept their pace slow and steady whilst branching out into a multitude of directions, ranging from stoner rock on Pentastar: In the Style of Demons to the esoteric desert-rock musings on Primitive and Deadly. For the band’s first record in over five years, leading member Dylan Carlson has decided to strip things down for a back-to-basics, raw approach, working as a duo alongside drummer Adrienne Davies to harken back to Earth’s core sound. We caught up with Dylan ahead of his solo performance at Paris’ Sonic Protest Festival to ask about his upcoming record, as well as learn more about his approach to sound and music playing.
Thirty years after launching their career, drone metal veterans Earth are back with a new song “Cats on the Briar”, premiering right here at Heavy Consequence. Moreover, the band has announced details of its new album along with dates for a US tour.
Featuring the core duo of guitarist-bassist Dylan Carlson and drummer Adrienne Davies, Earth will release the album, Full Upon Her Burning Lips, on May 24th. It marks the band’s first full-length release since 2014’s Primitive and Deadly.
As with the majority of the Olympia, Washington band’s music, “Cats on the Briar” is an instrumental tune, serving as the third track on the upcoming LP.
“‘Cats on the Briar’ is simultaneously uplifting and ominous, with a sense of perilous beauty,” Carlson tells us of the song. “It contains some of my favorite melodic embellishments, and I’m proud of the succinct solo at the end (all of which were developed during the recording, ‘off the cuff,’ so to speak).”
He adds, “It was the first song written for the new album. Inspired by a vision of my wife, Holly, dancing through a desert landscape, filled with dangerous flora and fauna. It was first performed in 2016 at Hellfest, in France. I feel this album is the strongest statement of what Earth is and does since I re-started the band in 2002, and this song is a great representation of that fact.”
Earth will support Full Upon Her Burning Lips with a US tour that kicks off in Seattle on May 24th, the same day the album is released. The trek, featuring opening act Helms Alee, runs through June 29th in Boise, Idaho. See the full list of dates below, and pre-order the new album at this location.