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Thursday, 10 May 2012

Record Review - Jon Porras

Jon Porras
Black Mesa
Thrill Jockey CD/LP

Black Mesa is the debut album from Jon Porras, better known as one half of Barn Owl. The press release states this release is, “intended as a reflection on desolation and the search for light in a barren land”. The sound is certainly desolate and sparse, featuring heavily reverbed guitar across droney instrumental soundscapes with minimal percussion.

Similar in sound and style to Earth’s recent pair of albums Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light parts 1 and 2, the tracks are generally shorter here, ranging from five to nine minutes in length. Herein lies a major problem – the tracks are neither melodic enough to deliver any sort of immediate thrill, nor are they given enough time to entrench themselves into your brain and become hypnotically repetitive à la Earth. One is left with the feeling of a series of songs that lead nowhere even though the overall texture and feel of the material is largely pleasant - and not too dissimilar from any number of other contemporary artists of the same style.

It’s hard precisely to pinpoint what it is about this album of instrumental drone that I found unappealing compared to any other album of instrumental drone. All I can say is that I was bored for pretty much all of its duration, no matter how soporific my own state whilst listening to it.

Austin Matthews

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