ENSEMBLE PEARL – Ensemble Pearl

Album: Ensemble Pearl

Artist: Ensemble Pearl

Label: Drag City

Release Date: March 19, 2013

Ensemble Pearl



 New combinations of veteran musicians (let’s not use the hoary old phrase “supergroup”) pop up all the time these days, but few sound as organic as Ensemble Pearl. Consisting of guitarist Muchio Kurihara from Ghost, drummer Atsuo from Boris, guitarist Stephen O’Malley from Sunn O))) and bassist William Herzog from Jesse Sykes’s Sweet Hereafter (not to mention, if you want to go way back, Citizens Utilities), Ensemble Pearl has enough pedigrees in both experimental music and psychedelia to create something truly weird and wonderful.

 While you might think this grouping would be so combustible that an explosive psych metal freakout is the only likely result, you’d be wrong. Ensemble Pearl consists of a half dozen tracks of seething atmosphere, driven by guitar hum and feedback, with minimal rhythm and little in the way of actual riffs. It’s as if the quartet decided to pay tribute to one of O’Malley’s chief inspirations: Earth. That sounds dull, but there’s something hypnotic about these songs, as subtle shifts in tone and mood in “Giant” and “Wray” indicate more going on than just nodding out in front of the amps. Indeed, “Painting On a Corpse” adds some rock muscle and a nearly accessible melody. The ultimate track, however, is the closing “Sexy Angle,” which over the course of nearly 20 minutes reaches the apex of Ensemble Pearl’s attempt to create a soundtrack for what sounds like the most melancholy, unsettling haunted house story ever.

 DOWNLOAD: “Painting On a Corpse,” “Sexy Angle,” “Wray”


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