Heavy drone zones aplenty on Sacrament.
Heavy drone zones aplenty on Sacrament. cover art by Anne Salter

Mark Schlipper, "Each Night as You Sleep, I Destroy the World" (self-released)

Seattle's Mark Schlipper is best known as the guitarist for post-rock group the Luna Moth, who organized the short-lived but excellent Cumulus Festival in the '00s. The Luna Moth issued their best album in 2018, Common Denominator of the Universe, which, as I wrote on Slog "harness[es] a crushing majesty that nearly rivals that of Om and early Earth."

Those are heady realms, and now on his own with his new album, Sacrament, Schlipper continues to explore the rich sonorities of the electric guitar over seven epic tracks (average length is about 16 minutes). The long durations allow Schlipper to create slowly evolving and subtly fluctuating drones that foster deep meditation. But the darkness and heaviness of said drones—which often surface after a beautifully placid introduction—manifest a tension that reminds you peace is not easily attained.

The title "Each Night as You Sleep, I Destroy the World" could almost serve as Schlipper's mission statement. One senses the guitarist holing up in his studio in the wee morning hours conjuring ways to summon the apocalypse with downtuned power chords. This track brings to mind Earth 2 and early Melvins' imposing obelisks of low-frequency fuzz clusters. A little after the six-minute mark, though, the bombing subsides to reveal a plangently strummed riff that raises your neck hairs with its poignancy. Inevitably, the calm gets subsumed by gradually intensifying clamor. Thus, Schlipper reveals an underlying layer of beauty struggling to break through the world's chaos. Ultimately, "Each Night..." sounds like an elegy for the human race.