Review: Sun Hammer – A Dream In Blood

A Dream In Blood embarks on the most gradual drifts between states. Molecules are swapped and re-positioned one by one, as the album’s grand sonic structures dismantle and reshape: fizzling drones recede beneath swarms of bass frequency, while shards of noise fracture and peel open the silence until beams of ambience can come pouring in. The album is an eternal state of transience, with the tectonic pace of its unfolding often creating the illusion of absolute stasis; couple this with the sheer panoramic scale, and A Dream In Blood sounds like watching a vast natural landscape become re-characterised by shifts between seasons.

The 20-minute opening track works the best, largely because it showcases Bodley’s ability to disguise stark contrast in gentle mutations and slow-motion cross fades. But while the narrative itself may move in these horizon-sweeping arcs, the activity within doesn’t necessarily adopt the same sort of patience; the music is littered with spikier textures, from jagged bursts of white noise to the brisk winter crackle of field recording. His music thus blooms into three dimensions, allowing the listener to narrow their concentration on an intricate rustle of noise in the foreground or gaze wondrously at the sonic cloud formations that collate in the album’s distant corners.

One particularly interesting aspect of A Dream In Blood’s construction is the way in which Bodley used short sine waves as the initial building blocks for the album’s illustrious soundscapes, with homemade Max/MSP patches adding chance and randomisation to the way in which these textures went on grow and crystallise. And while there’s a definite musical sensibility to the way in which the sounds often gravitate towards complementary harmonic forms, the pieces are equally prone to collapsing into dissonance, bending inwards from smooth parallels to form ugly tonal frictions beyond the composer’s control. Bodley is no more than the seed-planter here, and it’s beautiful to observe this record flourish largely on its own accord, without the intrusion of constant human intervention.