Review Summary: Sweet dreams.
Even if you don’t particularly like the music that experimental rising star R. Loren creates, one point is hard to deny: He would make a *** good employer. He has a knack for bringing together exactly the right people to realize his vision. The second disc of Pyramids’ self-titled debut contained remixes from such prolific artists as James Plotkin (who also mastered the album), Jesu, Toby Driver, Ted Parsons, and Blut Aus Nord, with each artist contributing a unique interpretation of a Pyramids track. Then Pyramids teamed up with Canadian drone duo Nadja to create one of the most complete and intriguing collaborations in recent memory. Earlier this year, Pyramids released the limited edition cassette series WVNDRKMMER, wherein each of fifty-plus artists used four Pyramids tracks to create a completely unique composition, and while few of the artists could be considered well-known, they all certainly got the job done. And now this.
Sailors With Wax Wings boasts an impressive lineup including Ted Parsons (Swans/Godflesh/Jesu), Colin Marston (Krallice/Dysrhythmia), Aidan Baker (Nadja), Prurient, and James Blackshaw, among others. It’s easy to see just where the roles of these musicians fell. The album often sounds like equal parts Krallice, Jesu, and White Light-era Swans, with some Pink Floyd and Godspeed You! Black Emperor thrown in for good measure. It’s clear that R. Loren knew exactly what sound he wanted as well as how to achieve it, because this album delivers it in droves.
However, the lack of subtlety should not be mistaken for a weakness of the album, because here’s the thing: The sound that R. Loren and crew create is really good. The album need not hide the source of its sound, because the end result is just so *** enjoyable. Loren has a penchant for creating sounds that wash over the listeners, immersing them completely in the experience. Sailors With Wax Wings is no exception--in fact, it may solidify the rule. The album has an ethereal, dreamlike quality, and like a dream, while the different parts that make up the whole of the album may be easily discernible, it is much more difficult to imagine any one part separate from the whole. The ghostly vocals, the omnipresent tremolo of dueling guitars, the plodding drums, the echoing chords, the atmospheric cello...every part plays a significant role. Even the separate tracks must be seen as parts of a whole as opposed to complete entities in and of themselves.
Sailors With Wax Wings may appear to be a collection of the talents and ideas of various musicians, but those ideas weren’t just thrown into a blender. R. Loren meticulously crafted the album to ensure that no note was missing and no note was wasted. The album is a complete, cohesive experience, one that envelops the listener and rocks him to sleep with alien lullabies. Sailors With Wax Wings is a prime example of R. Loren doing what he does best: acquiring the means to realize an idea and using them to their full potential.