“Aokigahara” by Retribution Body
Two long slabs of low frequency drone from Boston's Matthew Azevedo
Boston, Massachusetts-based Matthew Azevedo’s third full-length as Retribution Body was never intended to be an easy listening experience. Azevedo is a world-class technician, and by day engineers architectural acoustic simulations, teaches students about musical acoustics at Berklee College and occasionally finds time to master the odd record. It’s this rare set of skills that can be heard on Aokigahara, an album made up of two long slabs of low frequency drone.
Aokigahara’s focus on bass isn’t necessarily anything new – it positions itself alongside tomes such as Earth’s seismic Earth 2 and Sunn O)))’s soupy ØØ Void – yet Azevedo manages to inject something very different into the mix. Unlike many contemporary drone records, the album is an acoustic recording made in a concert hall, something which adds a certain magic that’s impossible to recreate using software trickery. Azevedo’s use of the space is the record’s power, and occasionally you find yourself focusing not on the booming sub bass but the airy flutter around it, or the echoing distortion that rips through like thunder.
This is not a record to listen to on laptop speakers or through your flimsy, white Apple headphones. To experience its literal punch to the gut you need to make sure you’ve got the right gear to hand – a good subwoofer is highly recommended. You have been warned.