For Mamiffer’s Faith Coloccia and Aaron Turner (SUMAC, ex-Isis, Old Man Gloom), music is a divine language, a code to be deciphered, a map riddled with clues. Their latest album, The World Unseen, is a conceptual and liminal document of numinous connection through an experience with loss. It is an exploration of subconscious and psychic bonds between the past and present, and the ways in which the musical devices of repetition and incantation create hands across the chasm that divide the human from the divine.
Through the use of piano, voice, guitar, Wurlitzer organ, bass synthesizer, tape machines, and effects pedals, Coloccia and Turner have created an eight-song aural lexicon that vacillates between Arvo Pärt’s delicate minimalist beauty, Thomas Köner’s narcotic pulses of noise, and Richard Pinhas’ sublime textural patterns. Further expanding upon their explorations, Mamiffer enlisted Eyvind Kang for string arrangements. Geneviève Beaulieu (Menace Ruine) and Joe Preston (Thrones) make guest appearances on “Domestication of the Ewe pt. III”, contributing additional choral vocals and bass, and adding greater dimension to their auditory crossings. Despite this impressive arsenal of musicians and instruments, Mamiffer ultimately depends as much on empty space as they do upon the various oscillating frequencies within their sound. “The record is imperfect,” says Coloccia. “It has within its heart an incompleteness, a stillness containing the presence of absence and loss.”
It was a slow and patient journey to arrive at the final formation of The World Unseen. Chance, accident and imperfections were used as compositional tools, and unplanned chaos revealed itself as having its own harmonious order and healing litany. The songs took their shape from source material that stretched back as far as 2011. Mamiffer then began to capture those songs in recording sessions at their home studio and at AVAST! Studio in Seattle with producer/engineer Randall Dunn throughout 2013 and 2015.