Asva, Futurists Against the Ocean

Asva, Futurists Against the Ocean

With a quartet of slow, loud, thick, and very long pieces, Asva sets the listener adrift in a sea of undifferentiated time. And yet, if Isis, in their own opinion, evokes the ocean, with a sense of massive, inexorable, inhuman power — and the uniformity of a natural landscape — Asva, their titular aspirations aside, is of an industrial scope, alienating, colossally labyrinthine, and machinic. Futurists Against the Ocean is most often the sound of a vast, unpeopled, and incomprehensible city of craggy monoliths.

This evocation is most effective on “Zaum: Beyonsense” and “Fortune,” both more sound art than music, even when they contain musical elements. On “Kill the Dog, Tie Them Up and Take the Money” and “By the Well of Seeing and Living,” Asva takes on a cross between post-rock and doom metal (very slow, of course) that is not unlike Pelican’s recent work. These are less successful; the presence of drums quantizes the pieces and breaks the droning smoothness of guitar and bass. Without that smoothness, without the sense of being adrift in time, it’s too easy for the listener to lose interest in what is fairly pedestrian if very slow metal.

Like a hand holding sand, the less Asva tries to grip their audience’s attention, the less likely the audience is to slip through their fingers and slip away, realizing how dull the music really is. That’s always the challenge with minimalism — to bore the listener into a state of hypnosis without putting them to sleep. Once they get their bearings, this is no longer possible.

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Review by . Review posted Saturday, October 1st, 2005. Filed under Reviews.

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