Natural Snow Buildings “Daughter of Darkness:” Part Five

At last we have reached the end of our long journey.  Now five tapes deep, only two sidelong pieces remain of this once intimidating box.  The duo comprising Natural Snow Buildings, Gularte and Ameziane find closure in these final optimistic movements.

Side A on cassette five contains “Devil’s Fork,” which begins as a gentle piece of psych-drone filled with the same hope radiating from the tracks on cassette four.  Cleanly picked guitars are interspersed at the top of the mix, coasting along tiny waves of synth flutter, later giving way to delayed swipes of guitar wash.  Again, a feeling of a warm, yet bittersweet longing for the past is brought to life through these tones.  Natural Snow Buildings are not content to simply idle away the rest of the album wallowing in nostalgia.  The fading sun on the dusk suddenly explodes into a ball of fire with swirling guitars, tambourine clashes, and towering choral arrangements.  Although the proceedings become rather intense, we are pulled back away from the flames only to watch them burn out harmlessly.

Now we reach the end of the album– “The Invisibles.”  Opening with a more caustic nature than the last few tracks, the piece leans heavily on big drums and female chants.  Pulsing with spiritual enthusiasm– you could probably dance to this.  I wouldn’t recommend throwing it on a playlist for your next party though.  Unless your party happens to be on a burial mound where you and your friends smoke opium and read the Necronomicon.  Once the party is over, the track drops into a formless binge of guitar distortion before again being picked back up by periodic drum hits and jangling percussion.

It’s difficult to condense one’s thoughts on an album as expansive as “Daughter of Darkness.”  This box contains a huge emotional spectrum– moments of intense fear, regret, longing, and happiness are all drawn out through these tracks.  I can’t seem to shake the feeling that this album sounds like a companion piece to a great spiritual journey.  Along the way, we encounter our hopes, fears and dreams.  Although a lot is learned about the world around us, the greatest discoveries are internal.

I will probably never be able to listen to this album from start to finish in one sitting, but I have the utmost respect for what Natural Snow Buildings have accomplished with “Daughter of Darkness.”  To have the foresight and patience to construct such a coherent series of pieces that unfold over the course of six hours is quite a feat.  Well done– now how about a reissue?

Download “Daughter of Darkness” Cassette Five

Oh, and yes, this isn’t the last of “Daughter of Darkness.”  The band recently released a “Part V” despite actually being the 6th tape in this series.  Stay tuned for that one.


~ by theoberlander on April 10, 2009.

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