In some ways, music can be seen as a receptacle. The place where all the effort eventually gets collected into its final form. All the ideas, atmosphere, the sounds gathered and positioned in space, the textures, the emotions, the process – all held in a tension between what is said, and the way it’s said.
Unearth Noise is an ongoing project by New Jersey’s Roger Berkowitz, his world always conjures up some rich form of textural ambience that rarely sits politely in the background. Prayer and Resonance (2016) and the collaboration with Dreamspeak And The Light Beams Will Guide The Way (2018) both hang in the air like slowly solidifying form in the ether. Last year’s Celestial Devices went even further as every extraneous element was beautifully erased from the entire album, forming a metaphysical scaffolding.
Berkowitz is a master of heavy psychedelic zones that easily morph from desert heatstroke into mangled rock and jazz wreckage. All these albums slowly pull the listener from deep stasis towards action as they pan out. And all feel like they somehow trace the structure of form of some ancient text or ceremony. They are, in short, all deeply heady, superb late-night adventures.
This is no mannered approach either, Berkowitz lives in this zone, the blending of nature and the power music has, to transport, and animate thought. This music is something he clearly thrives on, genuinely losing himself inside.
With Envisioning, Unearth Noise has drawn on a very tangible sense we are all moving through dark times… The music still has that unmistakable quality but this time it feels more agitated and ominous.
This development is immediately apparent in the opener Dawning, a buzzing electric powerline consuming droning guitar swarms, barely moving for 8-time warping minutes. The Center feels like a dreamlike conjuring of a woozy ceremony, percussion and haunting vocal fragment that feels an utterance from a freshly exhumed deity.
The infinite harp of Golden Realm and deep space chasms of Becoming confirm this album is drawing us into some huge active nebula. Revealed as stars in the night sky is the inky black above some eastern desert city…
The album feels like a long spacing out that becomes a heady blur which means the seeming normality of Speak from the soul hits like a somehow welcomed parting in the clouds. Here, the guitar circles in ecstasy but an illusion of something more conventional, is all mirage. Sacred domain is even brighter, like light and water gently re-focussing. The Lantern, feels like finally reaching that cave that never appeared on any map, and being presented with some kosmic wisdom.
Envisioning is an album that feels like the soundtrack to some challenging quest. A delirious journey that marries Dune’s Arrakis into exotic textures, filtered through leaked radio transmissions from our very own Earth, burdened with of the chaos of 2021.
Nothing has been sugar coated here, reflecting the state of play we all find ourselves in, but despite Envisioning’s darker overall mood, the music that’s distilled and gathered here is as deep, genuine and worthwhile as ever…
Envisioning is out now digitally, via NRZK Records