Downwards look to Melbourne, Australia’s incredibly fecund experimental scene for this almighty split LP; facing off Bonnie Mercer’s colossal sub-bass drone hallucinations with scorched-earth drug dirges by the YLP duo. If yr into Sunn O))), Earth, The Birthday Party, Spacemen 3, Sun City Girls, Gallon Drunk - this one’s for you.
Both sides of ‘Old Moon, New Moon / The Image of 36’ sustain their influences from doom drone, gothic blues rock and post-punk for the already fraught 2020s. Each act renders a certain, ravishing sort of romance from end-of-earth bleakness, sketching out feedback-drenched vistas and sunburned, byzantine visions augmented by drum machines and electronics to blistering effect.
Internationally renowned guitarist Bonnie Mercer offers a rare solo suite for her part. Moving beyond her decades of work with bands including Grey Daturas and Breathing Shrine, Mercer generates a transcendent collapse of desert rock forms that will reward listeners with the sandblasted riff textures of ‘Half Moon’, the skull scraping psyche noise lushness of ‘Linda’s Goodman’s Love Signs’, and a deathly crawl to dawn in ‘The Latest Disappointment.’ If you’ve ever seen Sunn O))) play live, Mercer makes use of the same sort of precision tooled grot that turns our insides out - all subharmonic drone and subby gnarrr that's a properly transformative listening experience at the right volume.
On the flip, YLP’s Joshua Wells (Nerve) and Harry Schwind draw on a dirty, strung-out ethos and eros of Melbourne’s legendary and resoundingly influential sound. Laid down during marathon sessions where they “…came as close as we could be to tasting the tears of god”, the recordings mercifully came to attention of Downwards’ Karl O’Connor (Regis, BMB), who now has the honour of issuing their first release; taking in the flaming licks and nagging drum machines of ‘The Image of 36’ and the groggy desert blues of ‘Foreign Sands, before really stretching out in two nine minute jaw-droppers channelling Spacemen 3, Suicide and Sun City Girls with infinite levels of flange and cosmically yawning vocals, but with more grunt in their gruds.