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high wolf - Atlas Nation
French drone deities High Wolf might be best known for their shimmering Not Not Fun efforts, but this latest full-length (emerging on the ever-reliable Holy Mountain imprint) is probably their best yet. Apparently it was inspired by a long trip to India and Nepal, and this Eastern promise is clearly reflected in the band’s sound palette. Pulsing tablas sit beneath a dense, sludgy bed of droning guitars – but ‘Atlas Nation’ isn’t a chore to listen to. While a great deal of drone music can be a feat of endurance, High Wolf throw enough hooks in there you’ll find yourself almost humming along to at some points. A good comparison might be the similarly-loctated Natural Snow Buildings, and while High Wolf breach far more worldly places, they definitely share a knack for creating beauty from the dark recesses of sound. The album draws to an epic close with ‘Haiti’, an elegy of sorts to the country’s debilitating earthquake and maybe the band’s saddest and most affecting composition to date. It climaxes in a cacophony of distortion and chiming percussion and I’m reminded of sacred music, somehow – a fitting tribute to weighty subject matter. Highly recommended.