Published Mar 22, 2017Following up their striking 2014 collaboration — the Boa / Cold 12-inch — Dylan Carlson (Earth) and Kevin Martin (aka the Bug) have joined forces once again for a full-length album steeped in unbridled heaviness. That these two hail from disparate centres of tectonic activity — Carlson is a specialist in deep, droning guitar sludge, while Martin slings dub-influenced, beat-based mayhem — is of no consequence; the pair share an uncanny symbiosis, which is quite clearly demonstrated on Concrete Desert.
Carlson's slow-motion shredding is met by and intertwined neatly with Martin's noisy atmospherics and minimalist beats. When the guitar becomes melodic, etching out patterns within the dense field of electronics, the tension becomes most palpable. That heightened beauty is epitomized on the album's titular closing track, a 14-minute subway ride into a strange sort of ecstasy. While the entirety of Concrete Desert certainly lays the foundation for the stunning meridian of the final few moments, Carlson and Martin chose an opportune apex to ultimately launch into orbit, concluding this formidable LP on the highest of high notes. (Ninja Tune)