Sádon – Fire/Water (2014, 2xEP)


Another new release (or pair of releases) fresh off the shelves of the BLWBCK label, this time by the St. Petersburg duo of Sádon, which not only is suspiciously close to label mates Saåad in terms of name but also within the music itself.

The big reveal comes in with the crushing opener of the first EP Fire, with “Desolation”. Monumental guitar drones throb and growl, although that is by far the biggest understatement you could make in describing them, since they come thick and fast as a wall of oscillating, punishing, cathartic noise, accompanied below by slow chords smeared out into crystalline drones that fray at their edges, like tattered flags left out in the elements too long. It’s stark and mean and foreboding, and sounds so much like Saåad it’s disconcerting, but it’s intoxicating nonetheless. Followup “Condor” turns us away slightly to prevent us thinking they’re perhaps out to duplicate a certain sound with a rather harsh melody of lo-fi acoustic guitar and mysterious, moaned vocals distorted in a similar fashion. There’s a certain element of the original character of both elements retained, something vaguely menacing and disconcerting, pushed under a rug of low fidelity processing to wrap it in a certain level of mystery, added to especially in the closing moments of rather playful solo guitar.

The biggest track of the Fire EP “Nameless Soul” follows in “Desolation”‘s footsteps but instead of shoehorning a mountain of fearful, overwhelming loneliness and oppressive catharsis into 4 minutes it carves out a luxurious vista of pained guitar drone, washes of subtle chord changes slowly and almost imperceptibly altering the chaotic and near destroyed fabric of the barely-there melodies. All the while faint and downtrodden vocals bleed out of some void buried beneath the sea of sound, the rolling hills of obliterating guitar. It’s all rather pained and entrancing, and the flip-flopping continues in closer “Dernier Refuge” or “The Last Refuge” as I understand it, which slows the pace to a crawl once again with big, heart-wrenching chords filling up the vast, echoic vacuum that seems to just eat it all up, lightly reverbed the warbling strums on their way to oblivion in this heavy final track.

Except it isn’t, for we actually have another 30 minutes of content ahead of us in the next EP, Water. Opener for this release, the aptly titled “Water Starter”, is rather at odds to much of the material we’ve heard thus far, although it’s rather close stylistically to the previous vocally lead track “Condor”. The lyrics are just a touch clearer and cleaner:

“Life is gonna, going to be

If you give an answer to me”

is repeated heavily during the first half, accompanied by delicate snaps and silky pulses of unusually restrained drone lapping gently on the shores on the piece. A roiling current of noise is barely held back beneath it all, however, and as the track progresses and the piano becomes increasingly clearer the mood becomes darker and more anxious, the roar just submerged under the surface being placated by the gentle lullabies of piano solo, soothing it into submission. It shifts gear into “Born In The Barrel”, which seems to me like it wants to adopt something closer to a Post-Rock style in its slowed crawl of wailing drone and slowly rising, proactive guitar with unintelligible vocals. All of the steam set up in Fire seems to have been quenched and quelled here as we finally hit Sádon at their most introspective.

But even as I say this the even more quiescent “Sleep” rolls into view, practically stripped bare of all its complexity and scale, dialled down to distal and heavily reverbed shushes and rich flushes of languid guitar occasionally breaking through the veil. The track itself is hardly soporific, lending itself less to the act of encouraging sleep and more duplicating its nature, with its detailed emptiness allowing slowed, filtered fragments of outside sensory data to glide into the safe world within as beautiful, idealised worlds glide by while we slumber. Eventually its 12 minute span draws to a quiet close and we’re left with the real final track, “Quit Heaven”. It lives up to its namesake as it tremulously builds layers of delicate, melancholic drone up, layers and currents that beautifully evoke the name of the EP, shifting gracefully as they melt away into one another in a contemplative 4 minutes of careful music. The final fadeout is a little jerky and disappointing, however, but it’s barely noticeable.

On the whole, a rather interesting and well juxtaposed set of EPs, titled perfectly. Fire is perhaps a little inconsistent and less well conceived that Water, which is far more graceful and beauteous and segues well. Fire is more disharmonious and doesn’t seem to have a desire to be pinned down and relies more on the crushing processing to make up for it, which is a little sad. That being said, both are well crafted and well executed and thought provoking.