Release Date: Oct 25, 2010
Record label: Southern Lord Records
Genre(s): Grunge, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Post-Rock, Heavy Metal, Doom Metal, Noise-Rock, Instrumental Rock
It’s hard to sell Earth to anyone who doesn’t already get Earth. Dylan Carlson (and friends) create the kind of music that’s best prefaced by an introduction from a wide-eyed friend who claims it’ll turn your world upside down, and a few confused listens before reaching an epiphany of your own. Herein lies the problem in reviewing a re-issue of a band who didn’t just define the niche in which they’ve nested but actually created it, from the dials of a Sunn amp to the bruised strings of thrumming guitars.
A Bureaucratic Desire for Extra-Capsular Extraction gathers all of the music drone metal progenitors Earth recorded in October 1990, during their earliest sessions at Portland's Smegma Studios. Earth, featuring soon-to-be Melvin Joe Preston in its second lineup, intended for those seven tracks to serve as its debut. Record label decisions interfered.
Before Dylan Carson surrendered fully to the slow, feedback-drenched, single-note meditations of Earth 2, thus creating the drone metal blueprint that influenced the likes of Boris, Sunn O))) and Khanate, he first busied himself deconstructing heavy metal as a whole. Although this first Earth recording from 1990 has been cannibalised for EPs and bootlegs over the years, it's still startling how contemporary it sounds. Boiling down the tenets of rock music to a primordial ooze of caveman riffs and continental-drift rhythms, Earth created a template that their acolytes are still trying to master two decades later.
The 55 minutes of music contained on A Bureaucratic Desire for Extra-Capsular Extraction are the sum of Earth's very first recording sessions at Smegma Studios in 1990. The band consisted of guitarist Dylan Carlson and bassists Dave Harwell and Joe Preston (the latter also played an Alesis HR-16 drum machine). Two guests vocalists -- Kelly Canary and Kurt Cobain -- helped out on the eight-track sessions.
In the late eighties/early nineties, amidst the burgeoning grunge movement in the Pacific Northwest, stood a lone figure with different ideas about how music could sound. That figure was Dylan Carlson, and those different ideas were the seeds that would grow into the seminal drone/minimalist outfit Earth. Bureaucratic Desire for Extra Capsular Extraction has been released in it’s entirety, being the first studio sessions (recorded in 1990) that Earth put down, and opening a bright and shining path that countless others have trod in the ensuing twenty years.