I can’t think of a better title for Dementia & Hope Trails’ latest drone effor than Ethereal Hurt. It’s a name that defines the sounds within, which are often turbulent with highs and lows of guitar drones, heady with different layers of harmonious notes that encapsulate the listener. Yet there’s also a sadness to these sounds, a perceivable grief or mourning within. The juxtaposition between these two feelings, both the gloriously ecstatic and the depressingly low, contains a wide range of emotions, and you’ll go through them as you listen to the two tracks on the tape.
Side A captures the feeling first with “Dead”; you might think the title would indicate some sort of dark drones, but instead Dementia & Hope Trails gives us a lot of mixed emotion, often building into a frenzy of sound that might or might not be great for a funeral – it’s transcendental, but it’s not the organ-infused ritual of moping.
Then we get “Go”, which is a subtler, less moving drone with guitar work that sounds multi-layered like a synth. The effect of the sound is intriguing, and the drone continues that same sound from the previous side. This one is staid, however, slowly changing tones without a whole lot of movement. But there is that sense that “Go” is building towards something, and Dementia & Hope Trails elongates the end of it to provide for that minimal climax of sound.
There’s something refreshing about Ethereal Hurt, even as its structure and sound seems to resonate with other drone artists. Perhaps it’s just the feeling invoked when such ecstatic noise hits the ears; there’s a lot of feeling within Dementia & Hope Trails’ sound, and even if it does sound exactly like drone, there’s an ephemeral experience that doesn’t always come through with this sort of noise.