Natural Snow Buildings – The Centauri Agent

Well here we are again, the critically-ignored French cult band Natural Snow Buildings are back with their 18th over-100 minutes long record (which they are distributed via the internet for free), only just over ten years since they first recorded a note. Last year, Natural Snow Buildings caught bloggers attention with two of their three albums, the first was Daughter of Darkness, an almost six-hour long monolith of drone, improvised folk and whispers, released exclusively and only on cassette and digital. The second was Shadow Kingdom that, by the end of 2009, was positioned second highest on rateyourmusic’s 2009 list, just behind Animal Collective’s masterful Merriweather Post Pavillion. It featured 160 minutes of strecthed drones and more folk psychedelia. So in total, Natural Snow Buldings have released over eleven hours of music in 2009 alone. That’s a lot.

Paleo, an American indie-folk band, released the Song Diary, which is possibly the longest release in the history books, containing over seventeen hours. Paleo are an example of another band that records and releases quite a hefty amount. But one thing that Paleo and Natural Snow Buildings don’t have in common is consistency. And this is where the Centauri Agent comes in. It seems that Natural Snow Buildings does not let a bad recording slip through their teeth, even on this album which I’ll remind you is free of charge. The Centauri Agent introduces itself to us with the 41-minute long track, ‘Our Man from Centauri’, which typically sustains one chiming and resonant chord which thankfully emits harmonic sways of ambience and orchestral string variations throughout that feels like an induction to a lucid dream.

After a similarly ambient ‘The Accidental Remote Viewer’, we reach ‘The Psychic Circle’ where solemn shakers and moaning organs and acoustic noodling intertwine and cooperate to produce a sombre melody where the first real traces of vocalisation are heard clearly through the dreamy lips of Solange Gularte. ‘The Storm of Resurrection’ opens with experimental guitarplay that envelop and swallow the listener within, as the title reads, a storm. ‘Solar Flares’ is the most prominently folk-orientated track which is an appropriately short ballad of acoustics, inspiring harmonies and minimal drone. ‘Memories Found in a Bill’ is The Centauri Agent’s respective closer and is composed of overlapping cries, xylophones and a buzzing melodic jam that aptly finishes off what is my favourite release of 2010 so far.  

There is no real standout on The Centauri Agent. As aforementioned, every track is consistent and equally as fantastic as the next. The Centauri Agent has such a raw, beautiful and innate qualities that out of the hundeds of bands that attempt in creating intrinsic, natural atmospheres, Natural Snow Buildings are one of the few to succeed. There is such genuinity with The Centauri Agent from the humbling guitar peal that rings and echoes therapeutically through your ears to the celestial and delicate hums from voilas that enhance the music’s magical and magnificent atmospheres. So indeed, Natural Snow Buildings have done it again.

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