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Sunn O))) | White 2 | review | rock | Lollipop
White 2 (Southern Lord)
by Brian Varney
Sunn O))), for those who've not experienced the platelet-shattering low-end rumble of one of their recordings, are an experimental/ambient duo whose twin gods are the band Earth and Sunn amps. I know lots of folks who are deep into this shit, but they're also the types with lesions on their brains from drinking too much Robitussin. White 2 is the fifth full-length Sunn O))) recording, not to mention the seemingly millions of limited-edition/lathe cut/colored vinyl/picture disc releases that pop up for a few seconds on tiny labels just long enough to annoy the insane folks who collect this shit rabidly.
There's a lot of Sunn O))) stuff floating around, but I can see how it would be pretty easy for the band to be productive. After all, the basic formula seems to be something like this: Turn your amps up loud enough that their hum is around the volume of a normal rock show. Plug in your guitar, let it hum for a minute, strum once (chording while strumming is optional), and repeat for 25 minutes. I don't mean to sound as if I'm belitting the band (well, maybe just a little for fun) because I'm sure there's more skill involved in making one of these records than I've indicated, but that's what it sounds like to an outsider like myself.
However, as I've mentioned, there are fanatical fans of this band, which leads me to believe there is something more going on here. Perhaps it's a similar situation to Brian Eno's ambient records, where close listening is rewarded, but not necessary. Truth be told, I haven't had much luck when I've sat down and tried to actively listen to this. However, when I let White 2 play as I lay sick in bed last week, I woke from my fever dreams completely terrified, my clouded mind cloaked in shapeless dread and my body coated in a sticky film of dried perspiration. Perhaps this would've happened without the CD's help, but somehow I think not. I've also let White 2 play as background music while doing housework, and it worked surprisingly well. Those with a penchant for creeping ambient noise and/or cough syrup are advised to investigate further.