Relapse Record released the latest album by the Chicago-Baltimore experimental trio Locrian in late July. Entitled Infinite Dissolution, it’s a concept album based on the frightening (but all too plausible) prospect that the world is on the brink of a new wave of mass extinction of species, one that could lead to the extinction of our own.
The album is richly varied in its sound, both harsh and sublime. Through music, it traces a narrative inspired by the album’s disturbing central idea. Perhaps unexpectedly, the album’s penultimate song, “Heavy Waters”, is buoyant and bright, a shimmering, uplifting, cathartic piece — something you could dance to. It could be seen as a hopeful possibility — the chance of a rebirth for life if (and maybe it’s just a question of when) humanity succeeds in wrecking all that’s around us now.
“Heavy Waters” has been out for months, of course, but what we have for you today is brand new — the premiere of a mind-bending video created by George Moore, an abstract interpretation of the music that’s as much fun to watch as the music is to hear.
I got the chance to ask Locrian’s Terence Hannum (who also works as a visual artist and art school professor) a couple of questions about the video and the song:
George Moore’s video for “Heavy Water” is fascinating. I know he made one for “Exiting the Hall of Vapor and Light” from Return To Annihilation. How did this new one come to be? Is it his own interpretation of the music or was there a collaboration between him and the band?
Terence: George is a video artist and motion graphics professor with me at Stevenson University and he had some ideas of using lights and effects to generate a pixelated journey. He actually selected the song and had a vision for it. So it really is his interpretation, he came up with it.
I’ve read that “Infinite Dissolution” was largely inspired by Elizabeth Kolbert’s book The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (which coincidentally was also part of the inspiration of a novel with a similar name that I just read by James Rollins). What role did you envision for “Heavy Waters” within the musical narrative of the concept? I’m curious, because the concept involves the prospect of mass extinction on a global scale — yet there’s a brightness to the song’s music. And where does the song’s title come from?
Terence: “Heavy Water” was inspired by this line in Kolbert’s book where she mentioned something about marine life in acidic environments or something and that they cease to grow. Another spot she talked about species starting to dissolve, it kind of set our ideas in motion. This track is that idea of just trying to dissipate humanity, that our effects will be felt infinitely — maybe in the fossil record of the future — but infinitely. The track definitely gets bright, we really enjoyed writing this one and we felt it was new territory for us. Heavy Water is actually a thing, it is water that is heavier because of it having one more hydrogen isotope deuterium and is typically used in nuclear reactors — it just stuck with me.
Enjoy “Heavy Waters” and George Moore’s interpretation of the music below, and if you can, catch Locrian on tour this month (after the video you’ll also find a full stream of the album):
Sep 10 Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery
Sep 11 Philadelphia, PA @ The Boot & Saddle
Sep 12 Raleigh, NC @ Neptunes Parlour
Sep 14 New York, NY @ Saint Vitus