“Double O Void” was the second album recorded by Sunn O))) around 2000. At that time the band featured Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson, and on this release they were joined by Stuart Dahlquist (Goatsnake, Burning Witch), Petra Haden and Pete Stahl. For those readers initiated into the music of Sunn O))) this release will come as no surprise, and can be enjoyed as an early document of the origins of a group of musicians formulating their art. Those unfamiliar with the resonance of Sunn O))) should read carefully. Devoid of any perceivable rhythm or tune, each piece is built up of tectonic plates of sound shifting lugubriously against each other to produce sculptures of sound that, at the same time, are impenetrable and curiously alluring. The tectonic plates are built up of profoundly distorted bass and guitar lines that build upon each other, layer upon layer, to construct what can only be described as a colossal sound “experience”.
The opening piece “Richard” is 15 minutes of dangerously distorted bass and guitar, with each note extended slowly and ponderously to outstanding effect. “NN O)))” features similar slabs of sound underpinned with the wailing of tortured souls from the very depths of your music system. “Rabbit’s Revenge” continues the hypnotic pull and further confuses the listener with the ethereal Melvins sample midway. The albums closing “Ra at Dusk” begins with a suitably morose drone which blends into the final journey of solemn guitar riffs. The tracks that make up “double o void” are without a shadow of a doubt powerful in the extreme, and implore to be listened to carefully, and taken notice of, and not to be played as a backdrop. The riffs here are fatter and stockier than the ones on “Grimmrobe Demos” and show the band themselves developing and mutating their trademark sound.
Sunn O))) genuinely redefine the listening experience, and are one of the few bands that can legitimately be described as “experimental”. The music here is not only about the sound that is heard but the sound that is felt, and, as most music does, rewards being listened to loudly and, ideally, in a live setting, only then can the listener be truly immersed in the reverberation. The experience is challenging, but as such, is an education in listening. The overall effect is one of total sound captivation, and should be undertaken by anyone who has any interest in the future of where music could go.