by Aaron Lennox

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"Aaron Lennox is an impressive artist. He folds together a dizzying array of sounds and sources into something so cohesive that it reads like a great novel. Drones and field recordings and a mess of acoustic instruments make up the bulk of "Sibilance," but it's the manner in which Lennox carefully constructs each piece that sets this album apart.

The only way to view "Sibilance" is as a massive adventure across the globe. It's sprawling. At just over 65 minutes, Lennox covers an unimaginable amount of ground. It's only fitting, then, that the second track contains the best use of a freight train recording that I've ever heard. The way in which Lennox seamlessly melds the dense and beautiful, hazy drones from the first track into the raucous sounds of the locomotive moving over the tracks. It's like you've just been sailing through the cloudless night sky and accidentally land on a moving train.

Once you're off the train, you find yourself in the boreal forests in Canada. Romping acoustic guitars and the minimal hum of feedback keep you on your toes. Surrounded by prickly pine needles, the only thing to do is move as fast as you can. Lennox keeps pace, note after note. It's like being stuck in a massive maze.

The glacial sounds return on the fourth track as you end up further north with nothing but snow visible for miles. As the midnight sun beats down, you struggle for sustinance and warmth. Heavily manipulated and treated guitars act as bursts of energy as you slog your way to some imaginary place in the distance. If there is such a thing as an oasis in the middle of Siberia, the beginning of the 4th track is it. Gently plucked acoustic guitar and the sounds of singing cicadas hint at palm trees and warm fresh water ponds. It tricks you, because just on the other side is a barren landscape of red dirt and tumbleweeds. Lennox bends this track into submission, taking you down twenty different paths all at once. It's magical. Wailing electric guitars sound like whalesong while bowed acoustic guitars shriek and holler at the moon. There's so much happening within the space of 10 minutes that you can't help but be impressed. "Sibilance" is a near-perfect piece.

You've only reached the halfway point of this album by now. It can be overwhelming, but mostly it's just an all-encompassing listen. "Sibilance" will infect your every pore. Toward the end of this magnificent record, a piano drifts into the mix that sounds like it's being played underwater. It's a beautiful moment that eulogizes the journey you're about to complete. This album is dense. There are a ton of different things happening here, often all at once. Only a master could assemble something so huge into something so concise. "Sibilance" is absolutely stunning. Highly recommended."

-Brad Rose foxy digitalis


released January 1, 2005




Aaron Lennox Shepherdstown

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