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CD Feature/ Fear Falls Burning: "The Infinite Sea of Sustain"

img  Tobias

Dirk Serries has always been frank about it: The stage is the place to experience Fear Falls Burning. This should take away nothing from his output as a studio musician. Each of his albums has been a eagerly awaited by me, none of them has disappointed and many have been the soundtrack to wondrous and intense journeys. And still, regardless of how deep you can sink into his fields of crunching guitar drones, no matter how often you will dream away to his clouds of floating harmonics, it is the concert situation that suits this man best at the moment and which pushes him to the limit. So, if you intend to buy just one Fear Falls Burning release in your life, “The Infinite Sea of Sustain” should be the one.

Collected here are six entire live sets from Serries’ 2005 tour, starting at the Kulturbunker Mülheim and the famous Staalplaat residency in Berlin in May and ending at the cc Luchtbal in Antwerpen. Brought together on one DVD, they document the rise of the project from its infancy to the status of one of the leaders in the field of experimental music and to the brink of popular genres such as Metal (which would manifest itself in a string of gigs with Cult of Luna a year later). The initial idea of publishing this as a box of six seperate Audio-CDs was quickly shed for financial reasons, as was the suggestion to add the Video footage. Instead, the music plays to stills of Fear Falls Burning in live action, which at first may seem a little static but actually gets more and more atmospheric as the pieces unfold. Other than that, the packaging of “The Infinite Sea” should satisfy even the most demanding haptofile, coming in a three-panel cardboard fold-out immitating the feel and look of real wood, with inserted black and white postcard-size photographs and the disc being wrapped in a nice paper cover. The luxurious exterior perfectly matches the deluxe sounds, as the music takes you to all extremes of the sonic spectrum. In four of the performances, the classic Fear Falls Burning sound is still intact, but taken to greater depths and razor sharp edges impossible to tread on a regular album. “Death shall have no Dominion”, taped at the abovementioned Kulturbunker (which, coincidentally also was the home to the live effort “The Rainbow mirrors a Burning Heart”) is an almost one hour long drone fizzling and sizzling in the half-light of the evening sun, building and growing in the middle and quietly fraying out at the end at a breathtakingly slow rate. The intensity and directness of the recording, which is powerful and pumping, but with all the little “noises, buzzes and ticks” still in place, prevents the tracks from sounding forced or dull and actually turns them into magnified versions of the album cuts.

The stories to the Antwerpen and Berlin gigs, however, are different. Here, Dirk Serries turns towards his more concrete and emotive side, with simple, heart-breaking chord schemes cutting aisles into the burning forrest of delirious drones. “Biding the Storm with Gaze” may actually be my favourite Fear Falls Burning piece ever. If you didn't make it to one of these performances, make sure you at least don't miss out on this.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Fear Falls Burning
Homepage: Fear Falls Burning at MySpace
Homepage: Soleilmoon Recordings

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