Bear in Heaven have trapped echos, tremors, winds, and fading light. They’ve redefined time, and folded it. They’ve unbuttoned sound, and realigned it. Within four walls in Brooklyn, Jon Philpot, Adam Wills, Sadek Bazaara, and Joe Stickney mined the democracy of their collaboration, plus the endless hours of stream-of-consciousness recorded documentation of rehearsals over the past years, to conceive the crystalline form of Beast Rest Forth Mouth, their second album, their exaltation.
A seed planted in the Southern US years ago (all members hail from Georgia or Alabama), Bear In Heaven began as the musical arm of Jon Philpot in 1998. Time eventually brought in a slew of players, like rickety scaffolding, that grew the sound and guided the group to morph from a 6-to-5-to-4-piece. As a four-headed organism, Bear In Heaven has now found a sonic stride unlike any in their history. Freely acknowledging the importance of the number four, the album Beast Rest Forth Mouth (think “East West North South”) was a conscious product of the four compass points, of the four makers, and of the inevitable confusion that manifests from that crossroad mentality: four directions could lead you anywhere and everywhere. It’s the acknowledgement of what can go down at that convergence, at that dusty center, that drives Bear In Heaven and imbues the songs of Beast Rest Forth Mouth with something akin to both eternal peace and nervous urgency.
Preceding Beast Rest Forth Mouth is 2007’s Red Bloom of the Boom, a 7-track, 43-minute exploration that crosses the streams of psychedelia and prog. Pitchfork called it “a true cohesive work in an era when the album-as-art form appears to be slowly dying” (7.8), and The Onion found it “a powerful, functional mix of This Heat, ‘70s soft rock, early Genesis, and oddly, later Pink Floyd.” The album was further informed by a collection of remarkable music videos by the band and their collaborators, providing a mirror into both the creative scope of the Bear In Heaven consciousness, not to mention the day jobs they keep as editors, filmmakers, and designers. The packaging and visuals for Beast Rest Forth Mouth continue in this tradition, the band collaborating with artist Laura Brothers to create the tactile doorway into the sonic swirl of the album.
Feeding the Bear In Heaven process further is a collection of extracurricular activities. Jon Philpot recently collaborated with Roberto Lange on his Helado Negro project (Roberto also had a hand in the final mix of Beast Rest Forth Mouth), as well as performed live with neighbors and labelmates Stars Like Fleas. Adam Wills has played and toured with Jonathan Kane’s February Rhys Chatham’s Guitar Trio, and started a new band with Joe Stickney called Dark Vibe. Joe Stickney was one of the drummers in the Boredoms-led 88 Boadrum last summer. Jon, Sadek, and Adam were three of the two hundred guitarists in Rhys Chatham’s recent Crimson Grail performance at Lincoln Center.
released December 11, 2012
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