10 years. 15 years. 20 years, and so on. Most labels and bands celebrate re-releases and reissues based on this kind of cyclic calendar. This year we experience the 40th anniversary of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. It’s the 20th anniversary of Slowdive’s Slouvaki, amongst others.
Leave it to Neurot Recordings for throwing a wrench in the system and reissuing an early Neurot recording 13 years after it’s initial mark on the community.
Steve Von Till may be best known for his work in Neurosis, but in the infant years of Neurot, he created an unusual album that coins the phrase apocalyptic folk. As The Crow Flies digs deep into the darkness and pulls out something absolutely beautiful amidst its fragility.
Talk about a 180 from the volatility that Neurosis produces, this album is meditative serenity with minimalist intent. “Warning of a Storm” is a great example of this. A lonely piano modestly puncturing sound while a guitar barely keeps a pulse. Combine the two with Till’s contemplative tone and you have something for the ages. It’s prophetic vision for the lethargic.
What surprises me about this album is how uncomplicated everything is. It’s artistic value lies in the fact that everything eclectic has been stripped out, leaving the core essence of what Till is capable of being able to create, be it the simplistic “Twice Born” or the expansive “Shadows in Stone,” lasting over 10 minutes of haunting strings and unexpected guitar tonage. It puts a tingle down your spine.
For someone who has a guitar nicknamed “chain of death,” it’s almost impossible and surreal to believe something like this came from this metal master. But you listen to his cover work of Townes van Zandt or his time as Harvestman, his solo work is just another factor to the gamut that runs through Till’s universe. Chalk it up to one of the many faces of Till, this personality of his is the perfect combination of unsettling mythos with expressive folk you would get from the early ’70s