Photo Credit: Jess Garten

Photo Credit: Jess Garten


CHASMS
On The Legs of Love Purified (10/14/16)

Chasms is the San Francisco based project of Jess Labrador and Shannon Madden. The duo crafts percussive dirges that are at once beautiful and menacing. Labrador's haunting vocals and hypnotizing guitar work wade between rhythmic bass lines and bursts of Madden's stinging feedback, laid on a bed of pummeling drum programming. The band's affinity for industrial rhythms, swelling textures, precise minimalism, and chaotic eruptions of noise sounds as equally informed by shoegaze as drone and doom metal—to choose just one would be a disservice.

On the Legs of Love Purified, the band's debut full-length album, will see the light of day on October 14th. Written over the course of several years, the album explores the healing force of love and the exorcism of pain that inescapably accompanies it. Light cannot exist without dark, bliss without suffering. …Love Purified conjures this atmosphere of duality as it drifts through an expanse of emotion.

While this is Chasms’ debut, they’ve been an active duo since 2012. They’ve released the When It Comes (Dream, 2012), Riser (Dream, 2014) EPs and the "Bad Evolution" single (Sleep Genius, 2012). They then collected a majority of the two EPs on the Subtle Bodies compilation album (Sleep Genius, 2014).

Why has it taken so long for a debut album? Labrador spent a year recording the album herself despite a hand injury that made guitar playing and production work difficult and physically painful. Recording between the band's illegally rented rehearsal space and a cramped apartment compounded a sense of tension and isolation as the two struggled to not only finish the album but to also stay afloat in a city that is increasingly hostile to artists, and where the threat of eviction constantly looms. This underlying uneasiness and discomfort can be heard in these recordings, and it works not to mar their beauty but rather to emphasize it by contrast.