5/12/17 – Natural Snow Buildings “The Dance of the Moon and Sun” (2006)

Natural Snow Buildings is the duo of French musicians Mehdi Ameziane and Solange Gularte. I’ve been a fan of theirs since this album, but it’s only been a few years since I first heard them. Their sound is a mix of Folk, Ambient, Post-Rock and Psychedelic. They are very prolific and all of their albums are very long and sprawling, so it can be a challenge to get through it all and dissect it. The Dance of the Moon and Sun itself is over 2.5 hours long.

Carved Heart is the first track but Cut Joint Sinews & Divided Reincarnation feels like the real introduction to their music. It’s one of their many long and expansive Ambient/Experimental tracks that you’ll find here. These songs take their time, The production on this album is very lo-fi- fuzzy and coarse. Lyrically it is very sparse, with well over half the songs being instrumental. When there are lyrics, they are quite cryptic – mainly there are themes of marriage, separation, the sea, and death. The eponymous track Dance of the Moon & the Sun is very aptly split into two parts. I’m guessing the “Moon” half is the first; it’s filled with a loud noisy drown that seems to grow larger and larger. Halfway in there’s a stark difference as the “Sun” enters as a twangy guitar, vocals, and a tribal drum.

I really like the Post-Rock sounding Wisconsin, with it centering around two guitars playing off each other. Felt Presence, Ghostly Humming is a simply stunning, moving piece of ambient music. At over 25 minutes in length, it does more than take it’s time, it’s a glacier of a song. Cursed Bell is a nice change of pace, it’s a lo-fi tune with just the singer and her acoustic guitar. Even better, it leads into the glorious All Animals in the form of Water, probably the most ethereal song in the whole of The Dance of the Moon and the SunMy Bones are Yours is another highlight, a fantastic Noise/Drone track. A lot of these songs blend into one another, and that’s not a slight to the band – the album feels like one cohesive monstrosity of ambient noise. It puts you in a trance of deep thought as it goes through many moods and feels.

Remains in the Ditch of the Dead is the final song, and I like the airy and ghostly production paired with the chant “She’s stealing your soul piece by piece”. This album is a long journey through atmosphere and introspection, full of dream and nightmare-like environments. It’s a very long album, but I think it’s worth it to sit down and experience the whole thing. It really does require an afternoon or evening to fully listen to, so I don’t often revisit this, but it is just incredible when you do.