While this latest album from the 10 person collective may feature only three of its members (Ezra Buchla, John Krausbauer, and Agnes Szelag, recorded in 2012), that reduced personnel is hardly perceptible from the sound. The subset trio create an unbroken noise squall of over 40 minutes that channels the best of truly minimalist compositions while at the same time it is reminiscent of the most chaotic (and therefore most amazing) of psych rock freakouts.
Approaching the Infinite is not just a title but also essentially a statement of purpose for the record.In a single unbroken performance, the trio strive for a distinctly maximalist sound, even if from a compositional standpoint there is a greater adherence to the minimalist school of structure.Liner notes are scant, other than the band roster, so the instrumentation is somewhat ambiguous.However, I think it is pretty clear that squalling, aggressive guitar is the source of the beautiful racket that makes up this album.
The guitar sounds are multilayered and diverse, but they all have an intentionally ugly sheen of distortion to them.The layers intersect brilliantly, clashing with the right amount of noise and distortion to hit all the right buttons, but to never devolve into purely harsh noise murk."Drone" is an overused term, I am well aware, but it fits this band‚Äôs ethos well from a structural view.EMB is all about big, sustained squalls of guitar that stretch out and expand to, well, infinity.
There is an intentional repetition to Approaching the Infinite, but there are a number of seemingly minute changes that result in a much greater sense of evolution and development.Some of the layers almost take on a rhythmic quality, but more in the sense of looping/delayed passages as opposed to anything percussive.The multitracked noise results in a great paring of the ugliness of distortion and feedback, while still allowing the more beautiful, purely tonal sounds to appear as well.
If I needed to boil the sound of this record down to the most basic of descriptors though, the most specific reference I can conjure is the traditional feedback and noise that opens or closes a many a great space/psych rock song, but harnessed and stretched out for an intense 40 minutes.All the harshness and beauty that is usually contained into those few seconds is here, expanded massively.The audacity of listening to such a massive wall of noise can be imposing, but the way the Ecstatic Music Band brings it all together results in a much more stunning experience on Approaching the Infinite.