The new record from Sumac — Love In Shadow, out September 21 via Thrill Jockey — is not for those looking for a quick fix with their music. It’s easier, perhaps, to say what the complex record is NOT than it is to say what it actually is, because it’s not fitting to sum it up in only a few words.
The four tracks of the album simultaneously pummel you and immerse you into a picture of a world that may very well be our own. The songs are largely the creation of Aaron Turner’s mind; if you didn’t know — and, if you’re into noise rock/metal, you should learn this at some point — he’s behind everything from the no longer active metal band ISIS to Hydra Head Records.
He takes you, the listener, on a journey with Love In Shadow. We’re here on this earth together as human beings and Turner sounds determined to not ignore the implications of that, pushing and pushing his music until it serves as a life companion of sorts. The record is a tour guide taking us through a simulation that explains the nature of life and prepares us for what’s out here when we turn it off.
Life has its ups and downs, and in terms of the brute intensity of the music, so does Love In Shadow. At times, it’s mind bending, compact feeling noise rock; and at other times, Turner and the other musicians working with him leave the listener suspended in a void of experimental, improvisational seeming sound.
The songs are life oriented music and not something to ignore easily. They get you in touch with your innate feelings, desires, and drives, including some that you perhaps didn’t even know were there. Knowledge is power, to use a cliche, so the knowledge pushed to the surface with Love In Shadow lets you in on some of the innate, power driven processes behind our existence. It’s like taking a peek at our wiring, were we to actually have something like that in place — and it’s all that in the space of just one record.
Listen to a single released ahead of the full length below.