Steve Von Till
A Life Unto Itself


4.0
excellent

Review

by bnelso55 USER (30 Reviews)
May 20th, 2015 | 91 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A melding of worlds.

The many faces of Steve Von Till become one on his 2015 outing A Life Unto Itself. More than a solo record, this evocative seven-song collection feels like a culmination of all the gravelly-voiced guitarist has absorbed during 25-plus years of music making, hinting at the incomparable heaviness forged by Neurosis, subtle acoustic mosaics of past solo ventures, and sonic arrases braided under the Tribes Of Neurot and Harvestman monikers. The history presented on A Life Unto Itself is rich, evident, and shaped by experiences that only many years can bestow, making it Von Till’s most monolithic solo statement to date.

Previous solo recordings hinged on a rather traditional approach and mostly garnered inspiration from American and European folk music. With A Life Unto Itself, Von Till expands his horizons by pooling his influences to assemble an overall greater whole. The haunting folk songs a la 2008's A Grave Is A Grim Horse have been merged seamlessly with dark, droning psychedelia, subtle Celtic touches and a deeper Americana-flavored lament to create a new set of sinuous slow-burners. The songs remain founded on an arid six-string and Von Till’s distinctive baritone, but are now fleshed out by grainy vintage synths, groaning pedal steel, and tremulous viola, which wind through the expansive arrangements as an open and genuine Von Till ruminates on foregone visions and memories. This fresh blend not only bares the soul of its maker in its all-inclusive brew, it adeptly conjures vast images of Von Till’s native Idaho landscape, which undoubtedly lent no small amount of inspiration to the mix.

The folk template remains largely intact, but Von Till experiments with a few approaches that have hitherto been foreign to his eponymous works. A ghostly, delayed electric guitar theme buttresses a howling solo and brawny doom riffs on “Night of the Moon” and a two-chord piano flourish drives “Chasing Ghosts”, offering a welcome reprieve from the album’s otherwise predominant guitar presence. Other highlights include the windswept pedal steel harmonics and hazy crescendo of the poignant title track, the thunderous climaxes of “Birch Bark Box”, and the layered vocals that elevate closer “Known But Not Named” to its the ritualistic denouement.

Fans of Von Till’s primary band who are unfamiliar with his side projects may find the contrast startling. This album is decidedly less heavy than Neurosis’ most introspective moments and the stripped-down aesthetic may disappoint those expecting Earth-rupturing power. However, those willing to set aside preconception and immerse themselves in this record will be amply rewarded. A Life Unto Itself finds Steve Von Till at his most diverse and at the top of his game. There are moments here that cut to the core.



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user ratings (72)
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
bnelso55
May 20th 2015


1338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Stream here: http://noisey.vice.com/blog/neurosis-frontman

Purchase here: https://neurotrecordings.merchtable.com/artists/steve-von-till

Excellent album. Been waiting for this one for a while. Definitely a worthwhile collection for those who enjoy Neurosis’ more spare moments.



Digging: Wilderun - Veil of Imagination

Relinquished
May 20th 2015


42970 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

bless your soul for the review

bnelso55
May 20th 2015


1338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers Relinquished! I've been digging this one ever since Totengott referred me to the stream. Glad there are some others out there that enjoy this man's solo work.

Totengott
May 20th 2015


4249 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Love the review, very nice! Album rules.

bnelso55
May 20th 2015


1338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks totengott! Agreed. This rules. Do you have a favorite track at this point?

Totengott
May 20th 2015


4249 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Not yet, still too early for me to decide that, but I'll keep listening.

DominionMM1
May 20th 2015


18542 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fucking rad review man

Digging: The Lights Inside The Woods - II

Atari
Staff Reviewer
May 20th 2015


25351 Comments


that album cover is fantastic. another great review man, not really familiar with this guy or his work with neurosis (been years since i've heard them) but i'm pretty convinced i should check this out

Digging: Cliffdiver - At Your Own Risk

bnelso55
May 20th 2015


1338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers Dominion and thanks Atari. If you haven't heard this one yet, I'd say it's worth checking out. I think this might be his best yet.

bnelso55
May 20th 2015


1338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Double post

NeroCorleone80
May 21st 2015


34618 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A Grace is a Grime Horse ruled, so i'll prob check this

jtswope
May 21st 2015


5788 Comments


Heard bits of this and dug what I heard. Will have to check.

DominionMM1
May 21st 2015


18542 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

listening now. really good, as expected.

bnelso55
May 21st 2015


1338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Nero - if you liked A Grave... definitely check this

Yeah Dom. It's cool. So much good stuff here. Chasing ghosts may my favorite track atm.

JasonCarne
May 21st 2015


1073 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Really dig this record, not quite as much as the last one though.

bnelso55
May 21st 2015


1338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^ A Grave... is a jam. The title track, clothes of sand, looking for dry land- all great songs.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2015


8581 Comments


Excellent review, pos.

Also, thanks for the album stream, I've been looking for that.



Edit:
http://stevevontill.bandcamp.com/album/a-life-unto-itself

Digging: Parkcrest - ...And That Blue Will Turn To Red

Flugmorph
May 21st 2015


22193 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pos'd bro, awesome stuff.

Looking forward to listen to this today

DrJohn
May 21st 2015


1041 Comments


Great review & album, pos.

emester
May 21st 2015


8271 Comments


Gotta check this out



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