AMN Reviews: Northumbria – Markland (2017; Cyro Chamber)

Northumbria sounds as if it is a place from Game of Thrones, but it is actually an ancient English / Scottish Kingdom that was eventually incorporated into England proper. Northumbria the band consists of Canadian duo Jim Field and Dorian Williamson. Markland, their third full album, is thematically based on the Norse discovery of Canada. Geography and history aside, the music herein is a compelling slice of deep-space ambient spanning ten tracks of varied length.

The album is a live-in-the-studio improvised recording involving only guitars and bass. While the overall feel of the Markland would not be outside of the Lustmord / Steve Roach vein, the lack of keyboards and synthesizers sets this effort apart. Field and Williamson lay down long chords and drones, combining into shifting landscapes with rumbling undertones. Sustained notes evoke primordial forests, rocky hills, and unpopulated lands. Despite a familiar sound, the unusual instrumentation adds unexpected color to the mix.

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