The new album from David Salisbury’s electronic project Camp Of Wolves is heavy, man. Not in a d-tuned guitar and screamo vocals heavy, but the kind of heavy that hits you when you least expect it driving to work, or staring out at the sea. A monolithic melancholy that touches your cheek when some great question reveals itself. The music rolls like a thick fog, with swaths of densely layered synth that reveal fraught melodies and existential dread.
These are the songs you hear in dreams about dying and rebirth, but when you wake up sad you can never remember why.
Granite Creek is slow-moving and ominous, but underneath all that mysterious, hazy music lives these almost classical pieces. Baroque, chamber music for a deep space symphony. It’s a striking, darkly beautiful, and at times an overwhelming musical and emotional experience.
Salisbury hails from Vancouver, British Columbia, and the wide open spaces of that part of the world feel alive and even foreboding in his music. Mountains tickling the sky as a blood-red dusk covers the world like a fever dream. Living in the shadows of monoliths with the by-designed beauty of the outdoors just outside the window. I’m not saying Salisbury lives in a cave in the middle of nowhere, I’m just saying I feel those vast spaces in his work here, and in a very visceral way.
The six tracks here take their time to form, building from what feels like real emotional depth. As we all can attest, emotions can take over and reveal a life and world of their own that isn’t always based in reality. They morph and build onto themselves into sometimes scary and uncontrollable things. Opener “Broken Reserves” feels that way. It seems to grow from a well of melancholy. Mournful synths cascade upward, building volume and depth. The musical world of Camp Of Wolves feels summed up perfectly in this track, though not all of his secrets are revealed here. This is a grand entrance into a hollowed hall of mystery and unknowns. “Deep In The Earth” feels more alien-esque. It puts me in mind of the Under The Skin soundtrack, Mica Levi’s obscure sound world. This is where the music seemingly morphs continuously, between calm reflection and an undercurrent of dread.
“Coyote Hole” is nearly ten minutes of drone and electronic dread. Whispering high notes build an ominous tone, while Gothic, cascading melodies create a kind of sonic sink hole where we lose all sense of time. The dark nature here is palpable.
Throughout the six songs on Granite Creek we’re pulled into an all-encompassing sonic world. A world where the weight of it all combines with a sense of peacefully giving up the ghost. Not really doom and gloom, but definitely touching on gloom. A symphony for nature, and all the darkness that comes with it.
8.2 out of 10
Camp Of Wolves’ ‘Granite Creek’ is available now via Soundtracking The Void. Buy it here.