Black Mesa

Thrill Jockey
Thrill 304 - 2012

EU/UK customers please order through anost.net

CD version comes in a 4 panel mini-LP style gatefold jacket.  LP version is pressed on 150gram vinyl with a free download coupon. 

Recorded by Jon Porras (otherwise known as one half of Barn Owl) at home and in his practice space, Black Mesa is intended as a reflection on desolation and the search for light in a barren land. Featuring seven composed tracks of meditative electric guitar embellished with improvised atmospherics and white light feedback, the album follows an outlaw wanderer who ventures deep into the desert only to discover the Black Mesa, a bridge between worlds (as related to string theory or multiverse theory). It's the desert counterpart to David Lynch’s Black Lodge, an entrance into cavernous mystery. Musically inspired by Sandy Bull, Popol Vuh, and Neil Young, Black Mesa explores the depths and expands the boundaries of ambient and drone music.

Through the haze of tremolo and twang, Porras hopes to bring a dark edge to the sunny, "far out" sentiment that is usually associated with West Coast guitar.  Also, in combining Americana with the gratuitous fuzz and feedback characteristic of modern Japanese psych guitar, he intends to take from the past, in order to move forward, and to create a sound that draws from the dark shadows cast under the romantic notion of California as an open expanse, the final frontier.

As opposed to going into a studio and working within a concentrated time frame, Black Mesa unfolded gradually over the course of ten months. Each song began with a composed guitar passage, and, over time, layers of improvisation and additional instrumentation were added. Wanting to step away from the long-tone, soundscape material Porras had explored in the past, he chose to focus more on composed instrumentals that balance improvisation with arrangement.  The end result is a record of dark beauty, like a brightly smoldering ember in the cold desert night.



  • 1 Into Midnight
  • 2 Blue Crescent Vision
  • 3 Candlelight Mirage
  • 4 Desert Flight
  • 5 Embers At Dusk
  • 6 Into the Black Mesa
  • 7 Beyond the Veil

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