The World Unseen
1st April 2016 – Sige Records
01. By The Light Of My Body
02. Flower Of The Field II
03. 13 Burning Stars
05. Domestication of the Ewe: Part I
06. Domestication of the Ewe: Part II
07. Domestication of the Ewe: Part III
Seattle is a city whose name has become synonymous with grunge and coffee, but it’s also home to Mamiffer, a post-rock duo unlike any other; especially since that duo comes from post-metal royalty. Many know Aaron Turner as head of Hydra Head Records and from his adventures with ISIS, Old Man Gloom, and many others, and his wife and House Of Low Culture bandmate Faith Coloccia together built not just Mamiffer but the very label they now release from: SIGE Records.
Fourth LP The World Unseen deals primarily with loss, but despite its bleak soundscapes the album is inherently warm – but intriguingly, its warmth comes from darkness. Having listened at varying times of the day, it’s at night the record really comes to life. From the reverb filled intro of “By The Light Of My Body” into the deeply cinematic and piano driven “Flower of the Field II”, The World Unseen shines a black little light. Faith Coloccia’s vocal performance is precise and haunting; each lyric delivered with a own lingering intent.
This stark warmth continues throughout “13 Burning Stars”: the song sweeps and respires, with waves of reverb, electronics and strings all charmingly put together to add both texture and depth. The subtle nuances are truly breathtaking.
Three-parter “Domestication of the Ewe” makes for well over half of the album’s run time, and it sees Mamiffer dive headlong in experimention with a crucible of sound and noise, bringing the light and darkness together. Part I feels like a descent into madness: its slow, meandering brightness crashes into scattered and distorted radio waves and erratic reverberations. Part II continues along this frantic journey, and Part III sees a coming together of all the elements – it’s where the trio really comes into its own. The addition of vocal harmonies and heavily distorted guitars show that the duo aren’t afraid to show off their weightier side, and it’s a more than welcome interjection.
Post-rock is largely an over-saturated genre, drowning under the weight of delay effects and multi-instrumentalists all vying for an ever slimming limelight. The truth is that usually the ones with something genuinely interesting to say are the ones who go unnoticed. Hopefully this will no longer be the case for Mamiffer; their depth and willingness to experiment has seen them hone their craft into something both marketable and memorable, capable of matching the likes of Sigur Rós or This Will Destroy You. The World Unseen is a piece of delicately crafted musical ecstasy that is just as much about what it doesn’t say as what it does.