Nonconnah's Elevator Music: Next Floor, Apocalypse 

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Listening to Dead Roses, Digged Up Zombies, Broken Pieces Of Diamonds, Live Cats, by Memphis' own Nonconnah, I imagine it as background music in one of those hypothesized elevators to space. Such a technological achievement would surely be the perfect combination of the mundane and the mind-blowing, a pedestrian concept that nevertheless would shake our very faith in what's real or possible. Taking snatches of everyday sounds, blending them with vaguely cathedral-like organs, synth washes, and noise feedback, this album creates similar ambient tensions.

Ambient music is often considered relaxing or downright soporific. but such complacency is not for the group known as Nonconnah, "a collective headed by Zachary Corsa and Denny Wilkerson Corsa, with regular contributions from Blake Edward Conley and others."  The references in the album's title sum it up well: a blend of garden-variety tragedy, apocalyptic dread, razor-sharp shards, and purring comfort is what this collection offers. Much like their other recent works, this year's release never delves into beats per se, but rather conjures up other rhythms that grow from the loops of found, discovered and built sounds layered over each other.

"The Light Of A Dead Star Is Not Something To Fuck Around With," for example, could almost be an outtake from Brian Eno's more elegiac tracks from Apollo, if overheard on a distant stereo while surrounded by cicadas and automated sprinklers. Each track creates it's own blend of synth squalls and squeals, backwards or otherwise manipulated field recordings, and white and pink noise of various timbres.

It's more appropriate to a cutting edge art gallery than a dinner party, perhaps, but who am I to second guess your dinner parties? Perhaps the title of track six, "All Those Days, As If Spent In A Fugue State," says it best; or perhaps "Path Of Totality/Rapture Drugs" suggests the experience open-minded listeners are in store for. For the overarching mood suggests tripping while washing dishes as the radio brings the latest news of climate disaster.

Abstracting the states of awareness induced by our machines, mentalities and media is what the best visual art regularly does in the contemplative surroundings of a gallery, and this album, with many layers of rich, visceral sonic textures packed into each track, does much the same. Give it a listen and imagine where a slow, increasingly unearthly elevator ride into space might take you.

Nonconnah plays with In Sonitus Lux on Wednesday, July 31 at the Hi-Tone Cafe, 10:00 pm - 1:00 am; and with Fanclub and Blvck Hippie, Tuesday, August 6 at Growlers, 9:00 pm - 12:00 am.

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