Blood Bright Star are definitely an intriguing enigma. The entity helmed by Reuben Sawyer conjures a strange but beguiling sound that explores the realms of ambient, drone, and folk. With releases on Florida label Ivory Antler, including their split LP with Onibaba, Blood Bright Star now have a home with their Floridian neighbours Antithetic Records for this new full-length, Solar Infinite where they fully unravel their doctrine. It’s a fitting match for a label that has gifted us some stunning avant-garde records in the past, whether from Kayo Dot or Nooumena.
In fact, there’s a level of Kayo Dot at play within these hymns. Imagine the off-in-the-distance growling beneath a mire of guitars that characterised Gamma Knife colliding with flourishes of atmospheric dark folk and washes of serene ambience a la Barn Owl.
An ominous spoken word mantra begins the record, which sets a menacing tone straight away, like you’re about to witness a ritual that will haunt your dreams for the rest of your days. Followed by gorgeously melodic vocals to start, the album then begins its imposing journey through lands both tranquil and abrasive.
The title track’s psychedelic guitars and the muddled rasp of the snarling vocals channel the spirits of Horseback. Across its seven minutes Blood Bright Star lull us into an eerie and unsettling calm. The atmosphere can only be described as threatening or uneasy. As haunted vocals creep and crawl next to the meandering (and strangely melodic) guitars, you’re pulled further and further to the edge, always preparing yourself for the worst.
This is a threat that characterises Solar Infinite in every way, dragging you through the unnerving and then tricking you into a false sense of safety like ‘Divine Ra-Helios’ opening with lush ambient guitar lines that sound bizarrely like OSI but soon returns to those skulking, eerie intonations that began the album. Meanwhile, the final track, the mostly acoustic ‘Nancy Sings (Jandek)’, borrows from the Mark Kozelek academy of affecting song writing to escort us to the end in heartfelt and poignant fashion
Solar Infinite is an album that you can easily get lost in, offering so many ideas and emotions with what are mostly sparse structures. Its delivery of such a vast emotional spectrum can be truly stunning at times.
Solar Infinite will be released by Antithetic Records