Ghost Cult caught up with guitarist Dylan Carlson and percussionist Adrienne Davies Earth in New York City recently before their sold-out show at Le Poisson Rouge. Their new album 'Full Upon Her Burning Lips' is out now…
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…
Full Upon Her Burning Lips by Earth is the ninth studio album from the Washington based band founded by Dylan Carlson in 1989. Their latest release sees Carlson playing guitar and bass alongside Adrienne Davies on drums and percussion. Out through Sargent House on May 24th, Full Upon Her Burning Lips is a transcendental journey with stripped down melodies, a rich landscape of sensual instrumentation, and gritty atmosphere of sound.
The album begins with “Datura’s Crimson Veils,” a slow-burning twelve-minute opener. Earthy ambience permeates the ether on this track. “I limited the number of effects I used,” Carlson said in a promo. “I always like the limiting of materials to force oneself to employ them more creatively.”
Adrienne Davies’ easy, simply playing “Exaltation of Larks” propels the motion forward on this track. “I really wanted the drums to be present,” Carlson says. “I felt with previous Earth records that other instrumentation took up so much of the sonic space that the drums were kind of pushed to the side.”
In this too often self-obsessed superficial age when the trivial and the frivolous frequently take precedence over more intimate and meaningful things, how wonderful it is that we have at least got Earth to elevate us…
"There are very few bands in which the drummer has such a distinctive style that becomes irreplaceable. Adrienne is one of those drummers, a unique musician, a leader and the spine of one of the most unique bands ever…
The minimalist drone-riff masters pare away excess and focus on the seismic repetition that made their best work so resonant, creating a new peak in their long discography.
“I would hear riffs from bands that I liked, and I’d want them to keep playing that riff,” Dylan Carlson recalled recently. “I was always wondering what would happen if you just stuck on that one riff.” That such a simple idea could spawn a varied, lasting musical career seems impossible. Yet over three decades, Carlson’s band Earth have crafted a rich discography by doing just that. Early on, they stretched single chords into minimalist epics—inspired equally by La Monte Young and Black Sabbath—to coin a drone-metal style later perfected by descendents Sunn0))). But even as Earth’s sound has grown since returning from a late ’90s hiatus, Carlson remains infatuated with the power of repetitive riffs.
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.”