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sontag shogun - absent warrior abandoned battlefield (cd)


ARTIST // sontag shogun
LABEL // palaver press (uk)
CAT // pm004cd


**Limited edition of 200 hand-numbered copies. CD comes in plastic slipcase with custom cardstock bookmark.** On the surface, the music of New York trio Sontag Shogun gives the impression of neo-classicism that recalls the piano-led inclinations of Sigur Ros and Dustin O'Halloran. The truth, however, is much more obscured as their recent EP, "Absent Warrior, Abandoned Battlefield," is just as likely to display a raw, unbridled sense of exploration as it is a serious sense of piano-based fragility. Sontag Shogun bury their patient musical aspirations beneath sonic debris that ranges from errant harmonies and sine wave tones to degraded tapes and electronic filtering. Undoubtedly this experimentation was a product of the trio's frequent improv sessions that live shows and all previously recorded material was dependent on. "Absent Warrior" is a more composed affair and the satisfying results of this 26-minute EP bear that out in the form of an utterly beguiling and enticing record. - Ryan Potts, Experimedia
This live performance (released in full) marked the return of Sontag Shogun's piano trio format, after a long period of experimentation with both improvisation and the use of signal-filtration systems. For most of this era, SS had been developing site-specific collages of both audio and video feeds from stacked TVs, doubly-filtered through Jesse's laptop and Jeremy's electronics, blanketed by a confusing grid of live piano loops. SS also spent time improvising with artists as diverse as Tom Carter, Matana Roberts and Aki Onda. Absent Warrior, Abandoned Battlefield presents the trio's natural ability to craft linear song-structures, making use of reel-to-reel tapes, treated vocals, oscillators and contact mic'd brushes alongside the usual piano + electronix. These five lush, shapeshifting pieces paint lonely and desolate landscapes of wind-swept grass, galloping seas and glacial permafrost, slowly building, slowly taking away.

Absent warrior, abandoned battlefield
Dawn has eaten the stars
Its hungry tongue laps at the moon.

Mixing by Jeremy Young.
Photos/Layout by Jesse Perlstein.

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