Review: Thewhitehorse – Wine-Dark Sea (Needle and Knife, Jul 31)

In my opinion, one of the most important aspects of a wall composition is the way in which it materializes. Some slowly fade in, others break through with a deafening blast of volume, etc.—and these different inceptions are often closely associated with the presence of the wall itself. In the case of Wine-Dark Sea, the newest release from Texas-based artist Sean E. Matzus as Thewhitehorse, the wall’s entry into the listener’s consciousness takes the form of a swelling, enveloping motion, the dense folds of crackling rumbles seeming to curl around and surround. The force of the noise comes from below, like a thriving bonfire, but the claustrophobic effect created by Matzus’s meticulous layers is one more reminiscent of a large body of water—ergo Wine-Dark Sea. Matzus’s unyielding sea of sound is as dark, overwhelming, and terrifying as its title, a lush wall that takes a subversive route to achieve the unmistakable feeling of being buried or engulfed: one of aquatic fluidity.

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