Progressive should be defined as trajectory rather than genre. The very nature of the descriptor is at odds with anything resembling a confine. Fawn Limbs embraced that with last year’s Sleeper Vessels and the previous year’s Harm Remissions, but it was more in the expansion of chaos itself. With new LP Darwin Falls, they push beyond chaos to show the unexpected can often add as much dissonance as dissonance itself.
In its embrace of meandering folk melodies and doom’s sense of dread, it’s a spiritual successor to third EP Thrum. Expect the unexpected, however, as ‘Noose Gestures’ eschews the narration that steers much of these epic yarns. Yes, in an album of twists and turns, this is essentially a straight, dusty road. (Even the blast beat section feels direct, with the bass thud from Artificial Brain’s Samuel Smith adding thunder.)
Vocalist/guitarist Eeli Helin (Lung Knots, Fargue) admits they chose the song for exactly that reason.
“‘Noose Gestures’ represents the few shorter and (a hair) more straightforward tracks from Darwin Falls. It felt like the logical pick to be presented to the world prior to the album’s release, mainly to showcase vastly different tonalities and atmospheres found on the album, countering the previously released track ‘Twitching, Lapsing’ in some sense. We pushed ourselves and our current limits on the album more than ever before in terms of songwriting.”
In the case of this track, that means a monolithic opening that gives way to ambience before the groove crushes again. Its mutations come primarily in the form of drumming from Lee Fisher (Trench Warfare, ex-Psyopus, ex-Commit Suicide), whose classy playing elevates every section. So it is in the breakdown, a straightforward one for Fawn Limbs: little feedback or frantic fury to be found. Instead, the sparse chugs collide with the drums and elevates it beyond the sum of its parts. The eerie background noise helps.
Helin explains these extra sounds added to their chaotic mathgrind.
“This track in particular is a good example of that, showered in slow grooves, saloon ambiences and viola-laden black metal pummeling. Michael Frei added his Wurlitzer and something he described as ‘The Doors’ sound. Overwhelming cacophony and floaty, almost feel-good, vibes on one song? Yes please.”
Yes please, indeed. Listen to “Noose Gestures” below.