Bull of Heaven
013


4.0
excellent

Review

by Ty USER (11 Reviews)
November 14th, 2011 | 25 replies


Release Date: | Tracklist

Review Summary: Who are we, why are we here?

There is a word in the Hebrew Bible known as tohu wa bohu. Those who are familiar with Godspeed You! Black Emperor's music may know of said word as the album art upon Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada. This strange Hebrew word is among the first within the Bible. It is said to translate to the word formless, or the word void. However, the exact meaning of the word is still not entirely known by even the greatest of Hebrew scholars. This word is the beginning of one of the oldest Creation Stories known to mankind, yet its actual meaning is not entirely known. It is a mystery. I find that this strange word can easily tie into humanity. Humanity does not quite know what it is, and it never will.

I was sitting on a hill the other night. It was rather windy outside, and the clouds looked heavy with snow. A few bright stars shone through the clouds, as if they were trying to poke their heads above water. From where I was sitting, I could see the entire city of Parker, Colorado in the distance. I could see cars traveling tirelessly to and fro, street lights changing colors, and people turning off their lights for a night of rest. I began to think, and I began to wonder. As people, who are we? Do we ever really know who we are? Do we know what we are or what we stand for? I began to wonder if tohu wa bohu stood for us. We will never know who we are, we are always in search of that unreachable goal, we die in an attempt to know ourselves. We are formless and void, we cannot even identify the meaning within our own lives.

Elsa, Are You in There? is an odd piece by an odd band. Bull of Heaven, the name behind this song, is rather mysterious. I have no idea who is behind the music, nor do I know quite what genre they are. One could classify them as drone, or ambient, I suppose. Nonetheless, they have released hundreds, if not thousands, of extremely experimental tracks. One of which is 50,000 hours long, the equivalent of 5.7 years. Bull of Heaven uses massive amounts of sampling and looping equipment, creating rather minimalistic, yet touching songs. Elsa, Are You in There? makes use of samples. In fact, that's all this forty-two minute long song is comprised of. Using old voicemail messages directed to a woman by the name of Elsa, this track plays over what seems like years of old phone calls. There is an entire lack of instrumentation in this album. The only presence of any musical element within this mammoth of a song is a very slow moving ambient swell present behind the ghostly voices of people going about their daily lives.

What strikes me the most about this obscure track is how haunting it is. Elsa, Are You in There? shows people going about their simple lives, it shows how formless we truly are. After listening to this song, if one could even call it such a thing, I realize how simply mundane and pointless our lives can be. Throughout the song, people leave messages about everything from common plans to their despair over going to a male strip club for a bachalorette party. The voices always sound, in an odd way, so empty and tired. After every voicemail message is relayed, an autonomic voice monotonously spills the date of the phone call. Elsa, Are You in There? shows people in their truest, most honest form.

As the song drones on, and the listener has heard message after message, people begin to feel more like brooding apparitions than human beings. This track, Elsa, Are You in There?, exemplifies the void existence that most human beings face. As people go through their daily lives, they leave the same messages over and over again. Though they make different phone calls, though they say different things, in the end, the concepts are all the same. Though unconventional in every imaginable way, Bull of Heaven has managed to craft an absolutely haunting and moving song. There is something oddly comforting, and oddly disturbing, about hearing human voices carry on about their despair and their happiness. Elsa, Are You in There? is not an LP, it is not an EP, it is not even a proper song. Despite this, it is beautiful, and it is simplicity in its most moving form. People are haunting. So often, we feel meaningless.



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user ratings (4)
Chart.
3
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
North0House2
November 14th 2011


5876 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Alright, hopefully this turned out decently. I have a feeling that it's somewhat of a depressing review, but that's honestly the feeling I get from this song.
The thing was freaking hard to review, as it isn't a song, strictly speaking. Despite this, it's one of my favorite Bull of Heaven numbers, so I felt that I wanted to review it. I'm not sure if the review turned out well or not, it's way out of my realm of what I'm used to in regards to writing music reviews.
Also, I still don't quite know how to go about labeling the Bull of Heaven tracks, due to the fact the songs are never classified as an album, and the majority of them are over an hour long...

Anyway, if you're interested in an introspective piece of work, check this track out, you can download it (as well as hundreds of other songs.) for free off of their website:
http://www.bullofheaven.com/

Truly a unique band.

Digging: Ef - Ceremonies

North0House2
November 14th 2011


5876 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Oh, and if you wish to download it, the track number corresponds to the song number, so if you find track 013 on the download menu within their website, that's the song.

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
November 14th 2011


4507 Comments


Isn't this guy a user on RYM?

North0House2
November 14th 2011


5876 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Lol I have no idea actually... I don't know much about the members. I read somewhere that there were two of them, but there might only be one. I'm not entirely sure.

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
November 14th 2011


4507 Comments


They've got a shit ton of albums, it's ridiculous

North0House2
November 14th 2011


5876 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Ah man, that's for sure. It's absolutely insane. I'm not complaining though. I enjoy their stuff.

LiquidVelvet
November 14th 2011


628 Comments


For the record, their longest song is over eight septillion years, so i dunno, the 50,000 hour one isn't quite as impressive in comparison. It all rules though.

DoubtGin
November 14th 2011


6752 Comments


this band is just trolling hard

scissorlocked
November 14th 2011


3511 Comments


interesting idea for an album

Digging: Traumprinz - All The Things

North0House2
November 14th 2011


5876 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yeah, pretty sure they're trolling a lot of the time. But, they have quite a few really good songs buried underneath the hundreds they've written lol.

Oh dang, I forgot about that 8 septillion years song... Is that one of the songs in the Aleph collection?

Lol, yeah, it's kinda a strange concept.

DoubtGin
November 14th 2011


6752 Comments


their last one is actually quite decent

Wombat988
November 14th 2011


389 Comments


I thought it was 8 trillion? Not 8 septillion?

Ovrot
November 14th 2011


10508 Comments


band rules

Digging: Satan's Satyrs - Demo 2010

tarkus
November 14th 2011


5560 Comments


I've heard of this band but never downloaded anything off their site.

I might get this because of the review

North0House2
November 15th 2011


5876 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Lol, awesome.

The band is amongst my favorites, simply due to their unorthodoxy.

They have so many good tracks, though.

Mad.
December 5th 2012


3981 Comments


This sounds quite... interesting...

North0House2
December 10th 2012


5876 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I personally enjoy it. I don't know if you can find it anymore though, since apparently their site went down and they lost everything on it, as far as I've heard.

Being an introvert, and having social anxiety problems, this song really intrigues me somehow.

solongatlast
December 18th 2012


201 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Their site is currently up. And I'm starting with 001. :p

There's a wikipedia page about them, by the way. Apparently one of the members was in Planes Mistaken
for Stars.

Digging: Thom Yorke - Tomorrow's Modern Boxes

North0House2
December 19th 2012


5876 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Lol good luck with that... 001 is a very... exciting track haha.

Oh really? Huh, I never read it, I should give it a read. I never knew that

solongatlast
December 20th 2012


201 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I slept to it.

Anyway, ya, that was ok, but I skipped to 013. As a piece of music, it's not that great, but as an artistic work, it's amazing. It really pulled me into what was going on (whatever it was...).

Was it just me, or did the voice machine stop giving the day after a while?



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