Sunn O))) (Take A Damn Good Press Photo)

This isn’t an every day occurrence for us, but you’ve got to show some respect to the men in hoods. Our first encounter with Sunn O))) was many years back at Sonar, in a bizarrely dark setting in the middle of the day that didn’t at all reflect the sunshine vibes occurring in Barcelona outside.

To be honest I really didn’t get it at the time, but in the year of THAT set from Skream!, Devo, Richie Hawtin, Jeff Mills and The Beastie Boys to name but a few, it was an experience that oddly stuck with me. In retrospect, it was all about the crowd. The hall was filled with the same dark feeling that Plastic People used to emanate with from, back when dubstep nights frequented their old sound system on the regular. It was heavy and slightly aggressive, but it was a community feel.

Drone has become an increasingly solo outing, with experimental producers dipping in and out of it at will to create an atmosphere that doesn’t always play out on release as well as it might in their head. At the core of this sound, for me at least, is what Sunn O))) do. An earth shattering live performance of some of the deepest rumblings you’re likely to hear. These guys play loud, probably the loudest I’ve ever heard.

The duo of Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson have by no means limited themselves to Sunn O))) exclusively, with too many associated acts between them to name. In 1998 they launched Sunn O))) along with Southern Lord Records, their own label with an ever-increasing roster that’s released the majority of the material recorded as Sunn O))) as well as other endeavours.

What they do has evolved, but remains steeped drop keyed guitar and bass work, rarely bringing forth beats of any kind. The live show consists of the two players in hoods, fog machines and a lot of amps. A crazy amount in fact. Check their amplifier stage plot below for last year’s tour, in this case with three people on stage.

This isn’t really a scene I’ve set about to explore, and perhaps it’s just down to my curiosity after that initial Sonar experience, but I do find myself reaching for Sunn O))) releases once a month or so. There’s something comforting in the subtle changes, the doom and extended chords. It’s primitive and tribal, meditative and contemplative, music to properly get lost in that seems to be a healthy jolt for the brain. Sunn O))) just are by no means themselves entrenched in one scene, both taking influence from the experimental elements of traditional music, electronic, jazz and even choral recordings. It all fits, and as they constantly seem to push themselves the rest seems to be falling in to place.

Anyway the real reason for the post was to highlight how stupidly photogenic and robe and some mystery can make you. The image they portray suits the music, and I for one appreciate the effort. For no real reason, here’s a few favourite shots of Sunn O))), including their limited Lego set.