The Stargazer’s Assistant – The Other Side of the Island

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[ Aurora Borealis, 2007 ]

I love looking at album covers and artwork. To me, these are the elements just as important as the music within, which often helps to convey or visualize the sounds, a sort of an invitation to explore the music. So when I was browsing the Aurora Borealis Bandcamp page (whose amazing logo was designed by Jo Ratcliffe, who also drew the cover for Sunn O)))’s Black One) I was immediately struck by the equally creepy/awesome artwork for The Other Side of the Island for the UK drone group The Stargazer’s Assistant. It immediately reminded me of the darkly fantastic work of the Czech animator Jan Švankmajer and his mastery of clay and his stop motion films. And the album could easily be a soundtrack to one of his films: a dark, ominous, surreal drones filled with mysterious bells or heavy guitar drones, it builds a haunting atmosphere similar to Ginnungagap or RST, bent on providing a wholly enveloping, psychedelic experience. And what an experience it is! Recommended!

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