Aanipaa, Through a Pre-Memory

Andy Battaglia

By Andy Battaglia

on 12.19.13 in Reviews
Moving slow and low, taking extremes of texture as its charge

Musically speaking, there’s regular, garden-variety “heavy” and then there’s heavy — the kind of weight that seems to give rise to its own sense of gravity. The latter counts as a specialty of both Stephen O’Malley and Mika Vainio on their own, so a duo enlisting the two of them together was bound to sound big. Even with advance warning and adjusted expectations, however, Aanipaa’s debut is a real doozy. Blurring what O’Malley does in the ambient drone-metal band Sunn O))) and abstracted electronics of the variety favored by Vainio (in the influential glitch group Pan Sonic as well as other guises), Through a Pre-Memory moves slow and low and takes extremes of texture as its charge. “Muse” opens in a murky mode, with guitar that hints at post-rock, before frightening singing (by metal vocalist Alan Dubin) and eerie strings (by Eyvind Kang, among others) pull it in different directions. Each of the album’s four tracks takes its time and makes shape-shifting a high priority, passing through phases of avant-garde mood music and spells of aggressive intensity. It sounds like a personal library of electronic noise and metal records melted into a plastic slab and played back slowly.