1. Distant hungers
2. Half mass
3. Outer hell
4. Contagious spaces
5. Chant zero
6. Dead hemisphere
7. Uncertain descent
Recorded, mixed at and mastered at The Pines, Montreal, 2015 — 2017
JH | Hammond BV and Farfisa Compact organs, amplifiers, treatments.
CD in gatefold sleeve with insert.
Behind Xenolith is one James Hamilton, who is “discreetly” active since the mid-80s, and his more recent output is with various collaborators as The Keraunograph Ensemble, as well as with Genevieve Beaulieu of Menace Ruine as Preterite and working with John Duncan and Ingenting Kollektiva. I don't think I heard of him before but so it goes when one is discreetly active I guess. Duncan invited him for piece for Hammond organ and video, of with “Xenolith” is “both a complement to and extension”. The press text also says that “in order to function as intended, this piece should be heard at very high volume in total darkness”, but darn it, it's day time, the sun shines and the neighbours are at home, so probably it doesn't function for me properly. In this piece, Hamilton uses Hammond and Farfisa organs, guitar amplifiers and 'antique' treatments, which are sadly not specified (I'd love to know what that means of course). The first twenty minutes are very high
pitched so even without neighbours I would turn down the volume anyway, but as soon as the low end kicks in, the volume goes up a bit and the rest of the sixty-three minutes of this work we remain firmly seated in this drone ride. It moves all over the road, from deep low, to sharp high and covering a great middle terrain (when another neighbour walked in and said she thought she heard gas leaking; true incident, happened around the thirty-fifth minute break), and going up to a mighty crescendo on all dynamic levels at the same time towards the end. Was I ever thinking of Farfisa and/or Hammond organs? Not for a single second. Only when I returned to think about what to write and looking at the first lines already jotted down, I realized this. Oh yeah, I was listening to antique treatments of those likewise antique organs and guitar amplifiers and not some computer based drone. Right. Never mind. The only thing that sprang to mind was the current strong work of Coppice, who do similar drone works, but more from an improvised music perspective. Hamilton spend fifteen months on the realization of this, which might not be
something one hears I would think, but this is surely one mighty drone work. It seems always to be on the move, with lots of small movements throughout. Should a possibility occur that I can play this in the dark and very loud, I will certainly try that, but I am already convinced about the high quality of this work.
— Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly