As promised a few weeks back, Sunn O))) and Ulver have shared the back story behind their collaborative album Terrestrials. According to a press release, the record’s roots reach back to 2008, when the longtime friends tracked a trio of improv sessions at Ulver’s Oslo studio, Crystal Canyon.
“We were sitting in the console room,” explains Ulver frontman Kristoffer Rygg, “early in the morning, listening to the takes. Someone said, ‘ah, sunrise over Crystal Canyon,’ as if the night had been a dark one. We all laughed and [Sunn O))) guitarist] Greg [Anderson] proposed it as a title. In that setting it sounded perfect. The boys had mentioned wanting the music to orient towards the light, like some lost pilgrim stretching before the sun. We kept that mental picture for the processing.”
Several rounds of mix downs and additional recordings sculpted those original songs even further, and as a proper long player emerged, traces of everything from Philip Glass to Alice Coltrane could be found. Which might seem like a stretch for the hooded ax grinders behind Sunn O))), but the band devoted an entire track to the latter’s spiritual jazz legacy on their last LP and the sample below sounds promising indeed.
“I remember the vibe in the room back then was more raga than it was rock,” explains Sunn O))) co-founder Stephen O’Malley. “And despite the fact that the walls were literally shaking from volume, it was actually quite a blissed out, psychedelic session.”
“You know that opening sequence of Koyaanisqatsi,” adds Ulver multi-instrumentalist Daniel O’Sullivan, “where the desolate desert landscapes, waves and cloud formations roll over the screen accompanied by deep male chanting and organ ostinatos? That’s where we were.”
‘Terrestrials’ is due out in February through Southern Lord.