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André Foisy - The End of History

The End of History compiles a number of tracks from André Foisy, the guitarist in the Chicago based experimental drone based outfit Locrian. We've raved about Locrian many times before - although we missed out on their first major release Return To Annihilation, released on Relapse. Although often regarded as a metal group Locrian - who features Foisy alongside Terence Hannum and Steven Hess - are open to experimentation with a sound encompassing drone, doom, power electronics and improvisation. On their own they've amassed a heavy weight of worthwhile releases, while on the collaborative front they've worked with Christoph Heeman and Mammifer. Collaboration and experimentation almost appears to be their raison d'etre. In fact The End of History includes some of Foisy's previously issued collaborations with Dead Dragon Mountain, Persistence in Mourning and Oikos, along with an expansive solo track.

The End of History opens with 'Anechoic', a collaboration with the doom metal of fellow Chicago outfit Dead Dragon Mountain. Here slow, whispered vocals are spoken over slight bass throbs and light, tumbling guitar notes. The whole piece gently builds into quietly restrained distortion as the guitar drenched in reverb plays out its fragile rippling notes. It's not too far removed from 'Interlude V' with Oklahoma's doom metal outfit Persistence in Mourning where rumbling dark ambient, which become thick with a hazy, distorted drone, is pit against Foisy's sprinkled, textured guitar notes. There's a cinematic quality to these tracks, attained from Foisy's restrained guitar work that is part experimental drone with an open, expansive sound that sounds like Ry Cooder's Paris Texas soundtrack filtered through the mind of an experimental metal guitarist.

'Omniscience' with the Spanish dark-drone outfit Oikos plays out differently though. Its blurred drones, offset by some discordant effects and rustling textures, has Foisy seeking out notes and chords as it expands into guitar distortion with slight feedback frequencies, before slipping into more melodic realms.

It's maybe worth pointing out at this moment that Foisy is a practitioner and teacher of yoga. Back in Chicago, his "Metal & Candelit Yoga Night" classes have been soundtracked by drone and ambient metal to accompany the sessions with short live sequences performed at the end as part of a "drone bath", when participants are exhausted and open to new experiences. The End of History was released to coincide with his solo European dates, which also included some of Foisy's ambient metal yoga sessions. It's fair to say that Foisy is adept at restraint and it is this quality he brings to these recordings compiled on The End of History.

That restraint is best exemplified in the final untitled piece. A wondrous 24 minute track of contemplative drifting timbres, along similar lines to the drone drenched sounds of Compound Eye's Journey From Anywhere. Rising up from subterranean depths the brooding drones slowly creep into darker realms where slight airy brush effects merge with waves of deep harmonious drones and a hellish extended moan. Those cries and moans are never piercing or jarring, mixed way down they become part of the overall dark reverberations. The entire thing is darkly psychedelic and quite wonderful - and probably well suited to Foisy's meditative "drone baths".

Most of these tracks originally appeared on a number of short-run cassettes, so it's good to find them now on CD - or at least on CDr. Up till now I've only heard Foisy's work with Locrian but The End of History amply shows the quality of his solo and collaborative work. Intelligent, immersive and well worth your time but limited to a mere 100 copies they really shouldn't last long. The End of History is released on TQA. For more information go to TQA