Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Reading through my posts on this blog, it is fair to say I can be a man of extremes when it comes to music. Sometimes when people ask what kind of music I enjoy, I tell them, "Extremely fast music and extremely slow music." With a few exceptions, this is the truth. It's like taking uppers and downers all day to stay even.

But what about the elevated, circular meeting point of "fast" and "slow"? In certain circumstances a strange equilibrium can be reached. A sustained tone and a repeated tone can create a similar effect. Both are a single note held for a period of time. The differences, while certainly subtle, are definitely important. The sustained tone allows for feedback potential as well as growth and varying amplitudes of the overtone series, but the rapidly repeated note has some different properties.

A sonic event repeated more than 20 times a second (Hz) is interpreted by the human ear not as rhythmic repetition but as a tone. 20Hz would be the lowest tone audible to human beings. The event (i.e. guitar pluck, snare hit, etc.) functions like a sound wave when repeated fast enough. Infrasonic waves lie below 20Hz, therefore inaudible to humans. When laced into music, or occurring in the environment, infrasound has been known to inspire fear, anxiety and even supernatural experiences in listeners.

So what the fuck does this have to do with Krallice?

If the tempo of a Krallice song is 130 bpm, and Mick Barr is playing his usual 16th note strums, that means he is playing a note at roughly 8.7Hz. And so it goes for every instrument in the band. Underpinning the slow harmonic movement of their songs, Krallice is creating infrasonic drones that are not directly perceivable. Hidden behind layers of guitars, blast beats and screaming are frequencies linked to a primitive instinct; the same instinct that sends animals running for safety soon before an earthquake or tidal wave.

This drone combines with thick reverb to create an uncomfortable yet very attractive atmosphere. The layered entrances and exits of ambient screams and lead guitar create a sensation I can only compare to the auditory hallucinations I have experienced as a result of food and sleep deprivation. Before the vocal line begins, as the lead line exits the song, I can still anticipate it so clearly in my mind that I question whether I am actually experiencing it. Listening to Krallice in the right frame of mind can melt away the barriers of perception and show you realities of music and sound you may not have ever conceptualized before.

Check out Krallice on their myspace. Get ahold of their new album, Dimensional Bleedthrough (perfect title), and catch them on their Spring/Summer tour with Ludicra. I'll be seeing them when they come through Baltimore on April 20th.

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