Laniakea is a grouping that came together in tribute to a North London recording space and its owner/operator, Ian Johnstone. The duo of Daniel O’Sullivan (Ulver, Aethnor) and Massimo Pupillo (Zu) each have some pretty fierce music behind them, but for A Pot Of Powdered Nettles they settled into some heady transcendent drones, in memoriam. White vinyl on House of Mythology.
Vinyl LP £16.99 HOM 003
180g white vinyl LP on House of Mythology. Includes 12-page booklet (includes Coil folk).
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- A Pot of Powdered Nettles by Laniakea
What I thought would be some powerskronk due to the presence of even one single member of Zu is actually drone. I guess all the powerskronkers are making drone now, it’s where the money’s at of course. Laniakea isn’t just a member of Zu though; there’s someone else to cater to, and that is one of the Ulvers. A pacifying presence perhaps?
Nope. Immediately after writing that, a behemoth of a distorted tone wrestles with the left and right speakers, cloaking the minimal organ-ish tones underneath. Actually, despite its grumpy growl, it kinda sounds quite relaxing, repeating a long drawn out melodic phrase much like a post-rock band of the last decade would. This feeling intensifies as the ethereal vocals enter, weaving barely audible phrases together into a majestic chill, like Ulver covering a Sigur Ros song or something. So yes, this is much more melodic and pleasant than I was expecting.
The second track is called ‘The Sky Is An Egg’. Just think about that for a sec. It starts with disarming dissonance for the first 3 mins or so, some sort of industrial noise tones, before coalescing once again into a chord-backed drone chant as the words “the sky is an egg after all” drift across the bright clouds. Well, that’s one less mystery to worry about. I reckon shoegazers would love this too, it’s got that ‘i’m standing on top of a mountain!!’ epic feel, but without the ludicrous delay/distortion layers that those lot can’t seem to get enough of. There’s guitar buried under it all, burbling out low, gradual strums sort of like Low. It’s quite a beautiful record overall, with even the slithery strings joining in the fun. Things get mildly more rhythmic as the album progresses, but only as a backdrop to the expansive melodics and the lads' best imitation of Eno's vocals on 'The Ship'.
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