From Ashes Comes the Day is the result of the alliance between Montréal’s Eric Craven (Drophead) and Austin’s Jonathan Slade (Silent Land Time Machine). For more than a decade Craven has been a prominent member of Montréal’s experimental music community, widely known as the drummer in HRSTA and Hangedup (Constellation Records). His recent solo work as Drophead finds Craven buried in layers of drums and homemade percussion as well as guitar, field recordings, and a vast array of other instruments. Now on Drophead’s vinyl debut Craven’s outsider take on guitar and keyboard assimilates the tenor of Austin’s foremost experimental violist/vocalist and co-founder of HOLODECK records, Jonathan Slade. Slade is best known for his two albums as electro-acoustic solo-ensemble Silent Land Time Machine and his work in the bands Lumens and AMASA•GANA. Together, Craven and Slade push each other into expansive new territory, fully embracing a darker yet broader sphere of expression and emotive depth. The dialogue of tidal chaos and isolation that wax and wane across both hemispheres of From Ashes Comes the Day makes this a highly unique release for both artists.
Simply divided into two halves entitled “I” and “II“, From Ashes Comes the Day is a single continuous piece comprised of a series of interweaving sonic vignettes that swell and decay into and out of one another. This brooding and lucid work is in a constant cycle of ruin and regeneration, where one moment’s fragmented wreckage degenerates into the fertile breeding ground for the genesis of the next. Movements of rhythmic guitar sweep in and fade out, propelling the album through a series of pensive destinations, while damaged viola phrases frantically build and collapse alongside increasingly distraught vocal howls. At times the strings rise to a panic, forming invasive waves of tension that eventually disintegrate into sparse minimal soundscapes consisting of dense columns of guitar feedback and clearings of near silence. Although this record features no percussion, Craven’s atypical drum-style translates directly into a superb ear for texture and improvisational structure; while Slade’s melodic articulation surfaces unbalanced and unhinged, revealing an intensity that has been previously absent on SLTM records. Mutual respect for one another’s musical endeavors cultivated a lasting friendship between Craven and Slade, and eventually through months of long-distance recording an album finally emerged as a cohesive and compelling finished piece. Montréal-based musician and visual artist Nick Kuepfer (HRSTA, Constellation Records) designed the artwork and hand silk-screened the vinyl jackets, making the album’s black-to-red color gradient unique to every beautifully packaged EP.
Austin and Montréal are internationally known as musical epicenters, but very few cities can claim to have the prolific experimental communities that these two share. It was in this pair of concentrated cultural centers that Craven and Slade were tempered into two seasoned veterans of their respective underground circuits. Consistent releases and tour schedules have forged a strong connection between these two vibrant and parallel scenes, allowing this recording to represent a unique meeting of minds that highlights some of the best in experimental music from these two communities. What initially started out as a fun collaboration between long-distance friends unexpectedly became a catalyst for both individual and artistic growth while synchronistically bringing together two artists and the cities from which they come.
Mastered by Harris Newman at Gray Market Mastering. Design and silk-screening by Nick Kuepfer. Ravens on vinyl labels adapted from the original drawings of Jeremy Gordaneer. All sounds by Drophead and Silent Land Time Machine (adapted from Eric Craven’s live-score to a performance piece by Erin Flynn).
1. I (13:10)
2. II (11:10)