Twilight of the Century - Hibernation (Tape Drift, 2013).
First available recordings of this long-running (yet rarely playing) improvisational unit, consisting of Ray Hare, Mike Bullock, Linda Aubry Bullock, and Eric Hardiman. Coming together in 2008 as a one-off merger between Century Plants and Rise Set Twilight, TOC quickly took on a life of its own, with each of the four members providing a unique voice and set of experience. This tape showcases a single session, with the group creating 4 epic tracks that range from hauntingly atmospheric to menacing and ominous, with countless stopping points in between. Mysterious synth textures, Linda's treated voice, Ray's guitar and inimitable vox, and dueling doom-laden yet contemplative bass riffs from Mike and Eric are the core ingredients, and together they form a whole that defies description. Features cover art by Stunned Records' Myste French. Dig in!
ANTI-GRAVITY BUNNY says:
"A sort of northeastern supergroup if you will, comprised of Eric Hardiman (runs Tape Drift, records as Rambutan, in Century Plants, Burnt Hills, etc), Ray Hare (records as Fossils From The Sun, also in Century Plants, Burnt Hills, etc), Linda Aubry Bullock (solo strange sound creator, and A/V/multi/media experimenter extraordinaire as Orangecookie), and Mike Bullock (solo electroacoustic excellence, works with Linda together in music/video/performance as Rise Set Twilight, in video as Twin Stars, and the record label Shadowselves). I try not to do too much bio stuff in reviews but all these rad folks fuckin deserve it. Music wise, Hibernation is as weird as you’d expect from a lot like this, a sprawling post psych hallucination that gets the smeared heat haze treatment, stumbling in the scorched desert under the stars and being comforted by your inner demons, an echo mumbling something vague & disorienting as spacey droning electronics & muffled guitars twist together into a ghostly tranquility, swaying between beautiful dreams and fevered nightmares. Putting these 4 together is almost begging for disappointment, but they deliver the best fuckin debut you could ask for. A mere $7 is all it’ll take to get these fucked jams in your hands."
HONEST BAG says:
" Hibernation is comprised of some of the most dark, potent and spacious psych tracks that I've listened to this year. There should be no surprise that Eric Hardiman (Tape Drift, Rambutan, Century Plants, Burnt Hills and more) is one of the artists at the controls. Eric's collaborations and side-projects match the quality of his solo releases - something which should not be assumed with every artist. Last year we were blessed with Lesser Halogens, the team of Eric and Mike Griffin; and a single-sided Century Plants lp. Hibernation, on Tape Drift, transports one into some of the zones occupied by Lesser Halogens, yet is something entirely unique. Commencing as a one-off collaboration in 2008 between Century Plants and Rise Set Twilight, this single session documents the first available recordings from the project. Twilight of the Century is comprised of Eric, Ray Hare (Century Plants), Mike Bullock, and Linda Aubry Bullock.
I love recordings that possess an ominous aura. When one listens, shrouded by murkiness of night and the enveloping haze, the frequencies manifest clandestinely. At times, the bass, guitar, electronics and vocals are volatile and strident; the listener besieged by menacing, interminable waves and particles of sonic energy - all good things with this type of music. Yet, in other instances the tape mimics certain facets of hibernation - metabolic suppression - via icy, airy minimalism. One mustn't forget the scorching psych of Hibernation III. Altogether, Hibernation is the type of music that floats stealthily, waiting patiently for the right moment to pervade one's head. And, once it has breached the perimeter, well, hold on tightly!
Furtive synth bubbles and moves sinuously in an infertile climate in the beginning of 'Hibernation I'. Ray's vocals sound so removed and spine-tingling that they must be from another dimension. His voice is a prodigious part of Century Plants and it shines here as well. As electronics swirl, sonic misfires and approaching resonance merge to imbue the atmosphere with apprehension. Guitar and doom-laden riffs threaten to annihilate. Shortly, these elements are synthesized with vocals and electronics. Churning synth and tangential signals abound before moving into a minimal state in 'Hibernation II'. Opaque sheets of threatening noise hover viscerally. Prior to the end, which is populated with nice synth, signals twinkle and an unsettling drone ensues. The flip starts out with a total zoner, 'Hibernation III', that touches on early Expo '70 recordings on Kill Shaman. In the final track, the treated vocals of Linda and Ray are cloaked in eternal haze and circulating transmissions. Slowly, a wall of sound is formed and then pervaded by shifting currents. Before long, Ray's voice bellows in head, producing endless echoing waves.
Hibernation goes from strength to strength- an outstanding tape! For fans of dark and atmospheric experimental music, this is not to be missed. The artwork, by Myste French of Stunned Records, is incredible. Lately, there have been many instances of beautiful artwork in the experimental genre - have you seen the artwork for Tipow on Worn Habit? Stuff like Hibernation is usually produced in a limited quantity. Extend some love to Tape Drift by purchasing directly.
peace and love, friends :) "
"As one of the preeminent psychedelic rock/electro acoustic super groups in the Upstate New York/Massachusetts area, Twilight of the Century have not been overly prolific amongst their many related projects, with this tape representing their first actual release since their founding in 2008. The rock half, Eric Hardiman and Ray Hare, make up Century Plants and have a slew of solo guises, while the more avant garde experimentalism is the work of Mike Bullock and Linda Aubry Bullock, who largely work under their own names and as Rise, Set, Twilight. Hibernation captures the quartet carefully balancing those more aggressive, guitar focused tendencies with the subtle use of electronics wonderfully.
The four pieces that make up this tape were recorded in a single session, yet each have their own distinctive feel. The first half of the cassette is skewed towards the lighter sounds more, with "Hibernation 1" heavily built upon modular synth twinkles and a low, wavering electronic drone that sounds just slightly, intentionally out of tune in order to sound just a bit uncomfortable. Vocals from both Linda Aubry Bullock and Ray Hare lay low in the mix, and even when the bass guitar booms a bit, it remains hushed and just as quickly drifts away into a universe of space echo and engine-like electronics.
The following piece emphasizes the electronics more, but with a looser and less structured feel, bringing in a fair bit of chaos. It is a bit messier comparatively, but never does it come across as unstructured or unfocused noodling. On the flip side, "Hibernation 3" is where Hardiman and Hare flex their muscles a bit more and move to the forefront. Right up front there is distorted guitar and foundation rattling bass, but tastefully echoed and reinforced by a subtle bed of electronics. The bass leads crank up the psychedelic aspect of the sound, while the guitar provides a nice noisy squall as a backing.
The final piece does not seem to sit too definitively in either the electronic or the rock ends of the spectrum, but its wet, splattering electronics and disjointed rhythmic pulses lead to it developing its own idiosyncratic identity. It has a harsher, aggressive quality to it that vacillates between soft and rough, at times tightly honed and well organized, other times a bit disheveled. The concluding half is more structured, however, and even has a somewhat pretty finish to an otherwise spiny and jagged composition.
It is a bit frustrating to know that Twilight of the Century has been so non-prolific in the past five years, because Hibernation is a tantalizing bit of improvised psychedelic electronics that simply made me want to hear more. However, their extremely sparse discography makes that pretty much impossible, so I will just have to wait patiently for the next release. All four artists here are amazing in their own right, but Twilight of the Century has them playing off of one another that ends up being greater than the sum of its parts."