Postcommodity is back with a snarling new album of decay, decomposition, and cyclical renewal.
Acclaimed Indigenous artist collective Postcommodity—Nathan Young, Kade Twist, Cristobal Martinez and Raven Chacon—return with their new album, We Lost Half The Forest And The Rest Will Burn This Summer, a darkly brilliant new album of noise and experimental sonics.
From the disintegration of its opening chord, We Lost Half The Forest lurches into a jarring and unrelenting movement toward some unknown destination or origin. The seeming soundtrack to an imminent decline, whether that of Western Civilization or a litany of other obliquely inferred societal ills—the rusting stench of rapacious global capitalism, the destructive, crushing force of the colonial machine—Postcommodity’s virtuosic evisceration of the melodic comfort of the listener also makes space to suggest, however subtly, an inchoate sense of Indigenous presence, resurgent return.
There is the hum of something else amidst the chaos and destruction.
The 16-song concept album, the collective’s third, was recorded at the Banff Centre for the Arts during a recent residency, and its contours mark not a linear trajectory of inevitable apocalyptic anxiety and decline but, instead, an imminent journey inward, and down—into and through—the land itself.
The album traces “the ever-cycling decay of a desert drought from the view of its flora and fauna”, and We Lost Half the Forest makes audible the dirge and drama of a world crackling, humming, and burning. A world starved for water—gasping for air—spinning down “the only path” available to itself to reclaim some sense of disoriented direction.
Acoustically, as is their oblique aesthetic tendency, the group combines Western classical instruments and performers, with their own Southwestern-rasquache electronics, into a deceptive blend of sonic assault, quiet hums, and melodic passages. With contributions from Marc Sabat, Nico Dann, Cecilia Bercovich, Achiya Asher, Cohen Alloro, Aaron Bannerman, Dory Hayley and Ilana Dann, the collective swells and crashes through Godspeed You! Black Emperor levels of intensity, while recalibrating the terrain of Indigenous noise and melody.
As the blasting, searing sounds of “Chacoma” rise to a crescendo of dissonant trumpets, feedback, colossal bass drums, vibrating strings, struck piano, and the haunted wails of far-off voices, the “end” the album evokes seems to eclipse the possibility of its own arrival. The swirling burn of “Dia Del Cabrón” cascades into caterwauling, recursive feedback loops, while in later tracks like, “Dios Nunca Muere”, the feedback has ebbed and faded, and all that is left is the undulation of frequencies set adrift. Winding back and worth, the album marches and warbles on, as though the sound of weather-worn metallic leaves were clawing back to life in the abated breath of a passing storm.
Postcommodity are masters of both the severe and the serene.
Their music, an art of calculated counterpoint, stages an elemental clash of forces that spins through clouds of anticipated violence, but refuses the finality of obliteration. To listen to this album is to become immersed within it, to be grasped by its ravenous, tentacular clutches, to be pulled deeper into a desertification of the mind.
Postcommodity walks with you—or perhaps they just walk you—solitary, blindfolded, out into an unknown landscape’s dry, raw heat, until only the rhythms of parched plants can be heard. Until even those collapse and burn, while the ululating shape of the land’s breath grows ever louder in your ears. Until your own heartbeat thrums wildly in your chest. Until, at the end, when the blindfold is removed, you look wildly about for a horizon that you know has grown only into a deepening darkness, the sound of the ground above you, enclosing, enfolding everything.
PREMIERE: Postcommodity, “Chacoma”
Postcommodity’s We Lost Half The Forest And The Rest Will Burn This Summer is available in a limited run of 200 vinyl copies, with jacket printed and embossed with ash. Naturally. For more information visit postcommodity.com