(Whited Sepulchre, 2016)
As Tropical Storm Hermine gathers steam and threatens to become a hurricane as it makes landfall on Florida’s Gulf Coast, we here on the Atlantic side of the state are battening down our hatches and stripping our grocery store shelves of bread, water, and batteries in anticipation. After that, we sit and wait, eyes glued to local news as weather patterns and storm paths are plotted and debated. It’s kind of surreal, sitting here, waiting for all this to happen – right now it’s just cloudy, the rain comes in spurts, and it’s not even that strong when it does. It almost feels like the storm isn’t real, like Hermine will somehow never make it this far, that it’ll just break up before it does anything. I realize this sort of nullifies in my head the impact that the storm is already having on those on the Gulf – the Big Bend area of the Panhandle has already been evacuated. (Godspeed, everybody.) And I also realize that I’m simply deluding myself. But there it is.
Ant’lrd makes music that foretells the passage of remote hurricanes. Colin Blanton, the man behind the strangely apostrophe’d moniker, has enlisted Odd Nosdam of cLOUDDEAD fame to master the record, and the collaboration delivers on its promise of woozy synths anchored by plodding beats. Blanton has a penchant for evoking space and distance on a massive scale, and Sleep Drive, consisting of three ponderous, monolithic compositions, has got me, along with the impending weather, all hot and bothered and reaching for my barometer and Doppler readings. This is music to watch the sky to, a soundtrack for the slow movement of intense nature as it gradually approaches, threatening and majestic at once. First come the cirrocumulus stratiformis formations, leading the powerful weather system, a harbinger of what follows. Then the main event, the storm. Ant’lrd harnesses the wonder of these events from a remove so great that he’s able to perceive the system in its entirety. From that vantage point, it almost looks like it’s not moving at all. And the tracks, particularly side A’s “Hood” and “Kasuisai,” reflect that.
Twenty minutes of “Msdass” take up side B, and I’m thankful for the relative ambience; the track is gentle sheets of rain in the aftermath of the main event. I can breathe a little deeper, the lump in my throat is gone, and maybe the electricity will come back on in less than a few hours. All I’ve got at the moment is my generator and my turntable – I’m not even going to spare the juice to light the house (although I may need to start running the AC unit if it gets hot in here). What’s funny is, you’ll be reading this long after the storm passes over me, so you’ll be wondering whether it’s business as usual or if I’ve been washed out to sea. Keep an eye on this page – you’ll know I’m OK if I post again. Until then, secure your record collection and allow Ant’lrd to keep you company in the hours of chaos – it’s surprising how the fear of great power is diminished by vast observable separation.