Monday, 23 June 2008


“The appeal of drone stuff for me is that it’s a heady, 'real' experience, internal, meditative. It could be a really good drug, and drone certainly compliments certain drugs. If you’re into that kind of thing.”
The music of Asva reminds me of the one and only time I took DMT. Up on a hill above Hastings, I saw constellations knit themselves into vast scorpion-like starships, a village in the distance take on the appearance of an illuminated medieval castle, control cables descend from the cosmos and the space directly above me solidify into a ceiling, through which a tunnel opened and I was drawn upwards into what I recognised as The Invisible College. Asva similarly cause one to ponder the the hidden geometries of magick and science. The title of their debut album, Futurists Against The Ocean smacks not so much of a genuine opposition as a juxtaposition or superimposition, the rubbing up or lamination of the immersive and mutable against the angular and monolithic. Of course, G. Stuart Dahlquist, Asva leader and avant-metal veteran (ex-Sunn 0))), Goatsnake and Burning Witch) offers his own interpretation...
“The visual and poetic art that resulted directly from the Futurist movement that occurred in Russia in the early part of the last century seems similar to Asva's contribution to our vast ocean of humanity, of listening choices,” he says. “Theres so much crap floating in that water! My hope would be that Asva and like-minded musicians, artists and writers could move to create a different level of listening... not trying to play the heaviest riff or rip anyones head off with some killer show, quite the opposite. Part of Futurist thinking (if I'm getting it right) is making something that hits you differently than smack in the face. Meaning is found through pondering, absorbing whats in front of you with mind, more so than eyes.”
Like his old bandmate Stephen O’Malley and the growing number of kindred spirits operating in the twilight zone between metal and drone, Dahlquist is acutely aware of his music’s capacity for physical and psychological transformation.
“Frequently, when done playing, my ears will pop, like coming up from a deep dive,” he explains. “The sound is what gets me off. Waves of bottom end just pushing right through me, Trey (Spruance, guitar) and Troy (Swanson, Hammond Organ)’s subtle juxtaposition, Jessika (Kenney, vocals)'s shrill screams, her beautiful lyric, B.R.A.D. and his skeletal drumming. I used to meditate a lot... I left my body, got scared, and now I've got Asva. So many times while playing shows, I've had to choke back sobs, the music just hits me so squarely in my emotional core.”
Asva: metal that moves.