Painting On a Corpse
Ensemble Pearl was assembled by Sunn O)))'s Stephen O'Malley to perform music he'd written for the production of director and choreographer Gisèle Vienne's piece This Is How You Will Disappear. If you're familiar with the names of O'Malley, William Herzog (Jesse Sykes), Atsuo (Boris), and Michio Kurihara (Ghost), then surely you have some idea of what this supergroup is capable of. But take note: if you're familiar with these musicians, this shows their mellower side. Ensemble Pearl is a droning, ambient, instrumental tour de force; the space between the players creates as much of the tonal composition as the actual moving pieces. String players Eyvind Kang and Timbra Harris are brought in to further enhance the sound. Where the musicians' works with their other groups often veer toward heavy stoner music, several of the pieces here—like "Wray" and "Giant"—take an extremely subdued approach. The 20-minute "Sexy Angle," however, flirts with a number of tense dynamics and features a few breakout moments.