Despite the four track names listed Sun baked snow cave is just one song spanning just over an hour, this immediately will put people off and the music on contained in this hour long journey do little to help with the accessibility of this record. Even so sun baked snow cave is the most accessible of the collaborations between Boris and Merzbow and also the best in my opinion.
The reason I believe this album to be the strongest of the collaborations is because both Boris and Merzbow put a lot into it and they begin to work together in a much more fluid way than on previous works where the two both put interesting things into the album but there was little interplay, this has all changed on this album the guitars are more present, the noise and feedback more intense and the long track lengths allowing for much more build up and change in dynamics but it is this very change in dynamics that makes this album so successful. Maybe because of the decision to create one long track or through lessons learnt from previous experience, the album really begins to explore the sound scapes that could be found on megatone but in a much more successful way because the feedback and noise begin subtly and are allowed to increases slowly it is much more of a natural change rather than the abruptness that was found on the previous releases.
The album begins with some acoustic guitars lasting for quite a while and building things up very slowly, sounds begin to creep in and the mood becomes slightly more sinister, you can begins hearing that things are about to change. The white noise becomes evident but it's not the harsh white noise you might expect and the acoustic guitars are still playing maybe things will be okay. But this changes the noise becomes louder a swirling noise surrounds you, layers of sounds build up things are becoming denser and you begin to feel surrounded. This is where the album succeeds beautifully, creating images in your head taking you through stages of a journey. The album uses the loud quite dynamics often found in post-rock but in a completely different way to normally used, creating a much denser sound that invokes feelings of claustrophobia. Towards the middle a guitar becomes to emerge amidst the noisy feedback the guitar becomes louder and louder but it always still seems to sound distant. Towards the climax of the album the noise becomes completely surrounding you can almost feel the vibrations, seeing this band live is a loud experience and on their more ambient songs you become completely immersed with sound you can feel it on against your chest, in your throat and this is to be found on sun baked snow cave.
Eventually things subside a bit the storm is calming only the odd roar of thunder and the rain is beginning to subside. The rain is no washing away the clouds are beginning to part. For the last couple of minutes you view the sound scape with the sun out, although the ending leaves you uncertain of what the outcome is.
The production on sun baked snow cave is worthy of a mention; although the feedback is intense the production is very clean in a way. Boris have always had excellent production their albums whether this means the production sounds like complete *** or is clean doesn't make a difference. I'm a strong believer in the aesthetics that can be produced with different production, and on this album once again Boris have done this excellently.
Overall this album is a very strong collaboration and should be of interest to any Boris fans and to people who enjoy ambient music. This is not only a good collaboration but also a strong album regardless and its wide availability makes it a good choice although it would probably require too much patience to be considered a good introduction to Boris. The reason for the high rating is partially based on the strength of the album but also as I feel it is an interesting collaboration between Boris and Merzbow who are both truly innovative and this clearly shows on this album where they have refined their combined sound.