For the last few years, whether through their self-curated Concrete Soup nights (which have seen collaborations with the likes of Can’s Damo Suzuki and Glenn Branca) or their limited edition physically released improv, Dublin’s ¡NO! have proven to be one of the more prolific outfits of the Irish avant-garde scene. Their latest LP ‘Sediments’ is the collective’s tenth release in three years, and is arguably their darkest, most ambient and most esoteric to date, with four instrumental tracks clocking in at just over thirty-nine minutes.
Reuniting with Andy Walsh who produced their debut LP (which we also covered back in 2015) at what was formerly a cable factory, ‘Sediments’ features the line-up of Fergus Cullen on woodwind, guitar & the Major Morgan, Jamie Davis on drums and percussion, recently departed Graham Montgomery on keys, guitar, mbira and echoes, and Damien Lennon on bass and cable resonator as well as outstanding artwork from Paris-based artist Marc-Antoine Beaufils.
While past releases saw ¡NO! foray into Krautrock and proto-punk inspired motoric rhythms and psych-outs, ‘Sediments’ sees the group display a more brooding sound and vision. Ominous woodwind spirals above eerie synths and sparse percussion, underpinned with restrained basslines and often looped guitar to provide not songs but in the sum of the four tracks at the LPs disposal, a mood.
Recorded live in-studio and before the recent social and political unrest of our times (Trump, Brexit and the paranoia of an impending worldwide nuclear meltdown) it is a truly clairvoyant performance – not just in its ability to sonically encapsulate a temporal shift in tone but in the symbiotic, almost telekinetic musical interplay and chemistry between all four members of the quartet.
Much like the group’s debut LP, ‘Sediments’ will not bring ¡NO! a legion of devout fans or commercial success but it bares repeat listens and artistic respect. ¡NO! have produced 39 minutes of ambience and feeling that command and demand your attention – to skip, or separate or dissect ‘Sediments’ track by track defeats its purpose. ¡NO! create albums for the vinyl bin-dipper – cinematic excursions to be enjoyed from beginning to end. This is what you get with ‘Sediments’.