Tuesday, December 26, 2017
STAHV - S/T
Really, there are very few other words I could use to describe the atmospheric post-rock of STAHV. A one man band, STAHV cut his teeth as a musician in the same California music scene that birthed Sleep, Neurosis, and Noothgrush. And you can get a feeling of that here. While not like any of the bands mentioned, STAHV shares their patience, their gift of allowing a song to breath, to progress in an unhurried way without ever losing sight of the final destination. STAHV is also much brighter than those bands mentioned. While his aural atmospheres does trip upon everything from doom to shoegaze to psychedelia, overall the music never loses it's heart of inherent brightness. Even during some of the heavier passages, (like midway through "The Test" the heavy riff that bubbles up from beneath the cinematic soundscape is one of power and muscle, not necessarily death and despair.
Don't get me wrong, the album is plenty dark, but somehow, it seems as if STAHV can always see the light that lurks within the darkness. Synths, gentle acoustic guitar, distorted riffs and other instrumentation (is that a sitar I hear during Djinn Rumi) fill the space with a musical density, but always allow enough space for that light to surface.
My personal favorite is the damp acoustic romp of "Forest Dweller," which is so thick and lively you can almost feel the moisture of the dangling moss from the tree branches on your skin. Don't know what species of mystical animal this Forest Dweller is, but he seems to be mischievous and even dangerous, while still being playful at heart.
Quite beautiful at times, darkly dysphoric at others, STAHV is a perfect soundtrack for the troubles of our time. Angst, anger and betrayal seem to live amongst these musical brushstrokes, but hope lives on. Well worth exploring. --Racer