Review: Kjostad – Glacial Lake (No Rent, Sep 25)

In preparation for this review, last night I revisited Kjostad’s Frost Cracking Trees tape, released by Prime Ruin earlier this year. While I like it quite a bit and it’s one of my most frequent plays, I remembered what held me back from truly loving it. The noise is harsh but doesn’t seem to have much energy behind it, something that heavily affects how much a harsh release impacts me. I’m glad, though, because it gives the masterpiece that is Glacial Lake context. Everything I associate with Stefan Aune’s unique project is at its best here, from the damaged nature loops and frigid atmosphere to the blasts of cathartic distortion. Aune slows down his approach, with each piece expanding and contracting over a whole side of the C40, an evolution that complements the music well. The ear-splitting wall of noise in part four of “The Water’s Edge” wouldn’t be nearly as significant without the previous three parts, as Aune’s careful stitching forms a breathtaking soundscape. The temperature of this music is freezing; I once jumped into a crater lake in Wyoming, and these ice-encrusted collages of sound are such an amazing portrayal of that piercing coldness. Jason Crumer describes Glacial Lake as “a refreshing Walden-esque vision of American noise,” and I couldn’t agree more; I don’t think it’s far-fetched to say that Stefan Aune loves and respects noise as much as Thoreau loved and respected nature.