7/25/17 – Sun Araw “The Saddle Of The Increate” (2017)

Cameron Stallones (Sun Araw) is an experimental American musician with quite an expansive and varied discography – this being my introduction to him. The Saddle Of The Increate is an Experimental Psychedelic album that is quite unlike many albums in the Psychedelic genre. The songs here are collections of fragments, quick samples with no concern for melody or structure. Stallones also provides vocals for these tracks, but he only exacerbates your disorientation with his filtered voice reading out incomprehensible poetry. Long story short – strap in because this is a weird ride.

A Golden Boot is the introduction to this album, and a song I think that would put a lot of people off immediately with it’s dadaist approach. It’s got this bizarre sample that he uses again and again, like a guitar string bent underwater, seemingly at random intervals. I’m on the fence on whether or not to call this music Noise, it fits in the cracks between genres so well that it’s easier just to call it Experimental and call it a day. This album definitely took a few tries before I started to really enjoy it’s weirdness. Later on in the album, Blue Gene is a sudden shift towards normal song structure with an actual repeating melody, but it still sounds just as alien as the rest. Right after is Amplitude, and I can also make out a song slowly forming out of these fragments. Maybe I’ve just been listening to this album too much, or maybe that was the intended effect? Listening back again, A Chute is a really funky, tropical track with a infectious beat. Then suddenly we get to Release and not only is Stallones singing, but this has a completely straightforward song structure. It’s a melancholic song that’s sung from the perspective a prisoner, of what exactly it’s not clear. It’s such a somber and emotional track that’s out of the blue and I think that’s what makes it hit twice as hard. I just love the chorus:
“I see my light come shining
From the west to the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released”

As if the spell was broken, the closer On Plateau follows the much more concrete songwriting. Looped guitars with fantastic tones set the stage for this contemplative song. This is just so smooth and beautiful it’s hard to believe it’s all on the same album as the angular first 3/4ths of the album. Trying to keep up with the incredibly varied samples and synths on The Saddle Of The Increate is nearly impossible, but it’s almost like those pictures of colors that you’re meant to relax your eye to see the hidden image. Once you’ve settled into this album it’s strangely enjoyable. Sticking with it to the end you’re rewarded for an absolutely gorgeous finale, it’s well worth it. This is one very weird album that deserves to be listened to several times before making your mind up about it.

 

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