Lucy Railton has been a fixture in my regular listening habits over the last year or so, her entry on Boomkat’s Documenting Sound series being an absolute stormer. PDP III finds her joining up with Britton Powell and Brian Leeds (aka Huerco S) for one hell of a cryptic ride. Hydration is imperative before you listen to Piled Up on a Couple of Doves because this monster of an album will absolutely leave you high and dry.
Built around pieces that started anchored around electronics and acoustic percussion from Powell, the end result is dense and shapeshifting. Piled Up on a Couple of Doves is a world unto itself, bursting into an ornate existence, towering toward vivid, neon skies. Oscillators purr to life, pushing down on pressure points amidst overwhelming static on “Channel 3.” It’s akin to watching glitched out horror movies on forbidden channels growing up where you can just make out a figure or a sound, but then the fuzz takes control again. Eventually you give up and find a brief moment of sonorous bliss before drifting off
The overbearing pressure continues on “Walls of Kyoto” with glassine tones sawing beneath a writhing aqueous surface. Intense and foreboding, there’s moments of calm to lull you to safety before the end crumbles to pieces. During this last chaotic passage I’m reminded of emptyset in the best possible way. Howling synths turn into bombs as the slow, grinding pulse obliterates everything in its path. Fantastic.
Dropped straight into a subterranean chamber with cymbals resonating like sonar mapping the concrete surfaces, the side-long epic “49 Days” is difficult, cathartic listening. Railton extracts mournful drones from her cello, the sound of ghosts trying to claw their way back to life. Each gong bellow is a blow against the resistance of death. “49 Days” is a corridor through darkness where the havoc and turmoil that swirls like a plague of locusts with PDP III building a sonic forcefield into a new dimension. Close your eyes and let the sounds overtake you and you’ll find yourself transported beyond. Piled Up on a Couple of Doves is an unsettling yet magical space to explore.