Over six months on from the last proper Barn Owl release, aftershocks from 2011’s drone monument Lost in the Glare are still reverberating. When I last spoke with the ever-prolific duo of Evan Caminiti and Jon Porras, they clarified that it was merely a coincidence that so many solo and side projects were being released at the same time. An auspicious release schedule is once again in the air this Spring, as both members are set to drop solo records within a few weeks of each other.
Jon Porras’ Black Mesa is out now on Thrill Jockey. The above video documents the performance of an unreleased live piece and gives a good indication of the material on the new record. Although fleshed out with additional instrumentation on record, the focus is on long-form structure, anchored by pronounced guitar parts. The album is not your typical tape-dump of noodly sketches that typifies the output of many small-run underground labels of late (the philosophy being, “If you press it on limited vinyl, they will pre-order it”). Rather, Black Mesa may be Porras’ most cohesive solo work to date, a brooding, late-night creeper of a record that succeeds by filtering the fundamentals of post-rock dynamics through Porras’ distinctive, blurred Nor-Cal guitar tone.
Caminiti fills out the more atmospheric end of the Barn Owl equation with this video for a song off his forthcoming Night Dust LP on Immune. Caminiti put the visuals together himself utilizing the now-ubiquitous YouTube found footage montage method. The result is an effective, understated visual accompaniment, with long-shots of the sun hanging in the sky over placid horizons to compliment the bottomless, droning haze of the tune. This isn’t confrontational, abrasive noise; instead, Caminiti unpacks layers of feedback into the infinite abyss, a shimmer of light floating above the murk.