The first few listens to Gas Lit assert, above everything, a stark duality: the earthen heaviness of guitar and drums, whose gestures are like geothermal springs calling upon the most ancient energetic potential, and the bright sprawl of the sky, painted through saxophone loops and reverb that spill like sunlight. Each track is a variation on these two fundamental sources. Earth and sky. Whenever the duo slam into another gigantic riff, the imprint of the land gets thicker, denser. Whenever the saxophones emerge, the sun gets brighter. By the time the listener reaches the final track, this duality is scorched onto the mind’s eye, visible any time the eyes are closed. A variety of interpretations are beckoned forth: the duo’s tumultuous evocation of the land pointing to their layers of indigenous history, the foundations of ancestry and the centuries of entrenched white supremacy; the sky depicting the liberation towards which these vibrations are eternally pointed.
There’s a vertiginous quality to their sense of rhythm, somehow conveying both the stillness of natural landscapes and the inexorable surge of time itself, with syncopations that etch all manner of curves and diagonals. The opener and closer both strike a thunderous waltz, while “Prove” shunts forward on double-hammered snares and copious cymbal wash. Regularly the band decelerate to the edge of stopping, almost removing the axis of time entirely and turning focus to the raw elements which, during these moments of tectonic pacing, seem to resonate into infinity. Though manifested in a record that passes in a fleeting 34 minutes, Gas Lit feels like a summoning of forces that are embedded in the ancient past and stretch long into the future, condensing an energy that’s otherwise spread inconspicuously upon space-time to render it loud and unignorable for just a moment.