Release Date: May 20, 2014
Record label: Drag City
Back in 2009, Belgian filmmaker Alexis Destoop asked Oren Ambarachi and Stephen O’Malley to provide the score for his short film Kairos. The film itself is a peculiar short concerned with the harvesting of raw time from the desert and refining it into “quantified duration”. In the film, the processing of time means that there need never be a time shortage again.
Yes, indeed, Shade Themes from Kairos includes a gorgeous metal-plated drone, the sort of 21-minute electric yogic saga you might expect from the triumvirate responsible for this five-track album. Though Stephen O’ Malley, Randall Dunn, and Oren Ambarchi have exhausting rosters of collaborations and contributions, their respective drone-and-doom credits remain preeminent for many. O’ Malley, for instance, is best known for co-founding the metal monolith Sunn O))), a band that Dunn not only records in the studio but engineers and mixes on the stage, too, serving as a shadowed albeit essential auxiliary member.
Shade Themes from Kairos is an extension of the soundtrack project that Oren Ambarchi, Stephen O'Malley, and Randall Dunn undertook for Alexis Destoop's short film Kairos in 2009. After that work was completed, the trio decamped from a makeshift studio in Belgium to Dunn's now defunct ALEPH studio in Seattle. Dunn was originally hired to co-produce and engineer the sessions, but his knowledge of analog synths and sonic textures, and his instinctive spatial approach to sound became integral and he became not an outlying participant, but a full collaborator.
With its roots firmly within science fiction, Arbarchi, O’Malley and Dunn’s debut collaborative release Shade Themes From Kairos is a largely instrumental exploration into dystopian futures. What has grown into a stand-alone release began life as the cinematic score to apocalyptic short film Karios in 2012, which explored the idea that time could be extracted from the universe and sold as a human commodity. To help bring the visuals and industrial concept to life, director Alexis Destoop instrumented a meeting of minds in influential guitarists Oren Arbarchi and Sunn O)))‘s Stephen O’Malley and appointed the capable ears of producer Randall Dunn to craft an extraordinary piece of guitar orchestration.