Brian Daniloski has emerged as a Maryland underground figurehead with his involvement with local sludge heroes MEATJACK and of late, his testing ground hideout, DARSOMBRA. In effect, DARSOMBRA has proven to be Daniloski's portable black hole leading to alternate sanctums of sound and creative spaces each time he dives into it. DARSOMBRA in the past has trodden into the murk, hit some creepy marks and danced on the frayed edges of schizophrenia. NEUROSIS' plunges into dark psychedelics and searing coldwave have haunted Daniloski's work, along with Krautrock foundations and Mike Oldfield's scrambled egg platter of music theory.
This time around, Daniloski mostly quells DARSOMBRA's shivers with "Climax Community", a three-song, two-pronged expressionistic drone project served in conjunction with the visual media of Baltimore filmmaker and artist, Ann Everton. Climbing out of the charred embers of previous albums "Ecdysis" and "Eternal Jewel", "Climax Community" isn't so much an astral-plunged body of work as much as it is the sound of a slow ascension towards a higher elevation, if not a higher state of consciousness.
Still a tough piece to digest for yeoman listeners, "Climax Community" opens on the twenty-plus minute "Roaming the Periphery", which unwinds Daniloski's drone regimen with low-octave synth bangs and stellular vocal chants that echo and fade as the track progresses into grubby bass distortion and screeching catatonia. Daniloski then cleans up his tones and asserts his ostinato patterns into a secular sense of left-of-center mysticism bred out of CAN, TANGERINE DREAM and of course, Mike Oldfield. Soon Daniloski morphs his colliding pedal effects into something yielding an actual melody while keeping his trippy layers swirling both on top and beneath the apex he reaches with his journey that seems both calculated and intuitive. Nearly hitting tiers of the sublime when "Roaming the Periphery" reaches its hummable plateau, if you've listened along without a doobie in reach, you're going to want a second go to assimilate it all before moving on to the much shorter second track, "Green".
Bipolar in comparison to the probing density of "Roaming the Periphery", the singular acoustic jam comprising "Green" harkens a seventies head rock feel set about its lonely course like a wayward minstrel against the two gaping selections of "Climax Community". Strange enough, the final track, "Thunder Thighs", is quixotic instead of campy or frank. It's a weird composition, yes, but only in increments. There's a calm translucence to Daniloski's palette of clean guitar lines set against the planted sitars in the opening section that rings like a modern western epic set in of all places, India. Whatever worked for "Shanghai Noon", right? "Thunder Thighs" changes gears however, as Daniloski applies double layers of distorted rock grooves and wah theatrics, revealing exemplary technique. The only disclaimer to make with "Thunder Thighs" is the discomfiting ersatz, harrowing coldwave and the looped "dat-dat" soundbyte in the final section that will possibly lose Daniloski's audience. At least these dank modes are stayed until the end of the project.
DARSOMBRA will remain, at this point, a cult oddity for psych freaks, drone junkies and art moguls, but Brian Daniloski has written his most intriguing and entertaining album under this moniker that should be amazing to take in live with Ann Everton's visual aesthetics. The aural aesthetics of "Climax Community" are compelling enough.