Review: Deathbird/Budman – Fruits from Saturn (Cadmus Tape, Nov 22)

It’s not uncommon for bands who have crafted a unique or eclectic style, or even labels that cultivate a singular aesthetic, to carve out a “personal genre” for themselves (R.I.P. David Markson) with some crazy name. Some personal favorites of mine are “vapor punk,” “fog electronics,” and “shitgaze.” Self-classification, however, is notoriously unreliable, and many of these artists’ music ends up failing to meet the expectations that such creative titles evoke. I thought for sure this would be the case with the “death Appalachia” that allegedly graces Fruits from Saturn, the new collaborative tape from Deathbird Stories and Vadim Budman; there’s no way anything could sound that cool. As you can probably guess, I was dead wrong. The pairing of these two musicians spans the quite large expanse of ocean that separates the U.K. from Canada, a geographic scope that is somehow matched by the formidable racket the duo conjures. “Gone to Croatoan,” perhaps fittingly named for the word found carved into a tree after the mysterious disappearance of the island colony of Roanoke, is among the tape’s shortest tracks, but doesn’t waste any time whipping up a howling storm of distorted guitar gunk. Whether Deathbird and Budman are getting right to the point on “Gone to Croatoan” and “Moons of Gomrath” or constructing massive sprawls of harrowing, dissonant atmospherics on “The Word for World is Forest” and “Tindalos,” their ability to swirl various sound sources into gargantuan drones that rival the apocalyptic meditations of Daughter of Darkness is pretty astounding. The length may intimidate some of you, but personally I hadn’t even looked to see how long Fruits from Saturn actually was until about two-thirds of the way through and was baffled to see how quickly the time passed. I assure you, listening to this hefty slab of true “death Appalachia” will be eighty minutes well spent.