Track Premiere: “Searing Emptiness” by Awful Eternity

New OKC collaborative duo intertwines noise music with dance on forthcoming experimental album

Pooling along the edges of Oklahoma City music are some of the most riveting clusters of new life, burgeoning like a fungal growth in the shadows of established genre music. Here, experimental tape labels, underground music festivals, and unconventional venues spring up to cultivate a hunger for something truly alternative. 

When the clusters breed, they birth inspired new organisms like Heyer Lusk, Harglow, and Content Farm, none of which are bands in any traditional sense. They are experiments in collaboration. Sometimes they bubble up and fizzle out quickly, and sometimes they grow for a spell. Either way, they can be a wonder to witness. 

Awful Eternity is such an organism. Comprised of native noise artist Warren Realrider (TickSuck) and niche dance music curator Taylor McKenzie (Fixed Rhythms), it is a noisy, cerebral, pulsating project that bridges sequencing and chaos. The duo’s debut album, Wound Routes, invites speculation by its name alone, which can be pronounced either with an “ow” or “oo” vowel sound. The interpretation is a matter of perspective.

The album releases this Thursday, May 12th, on art music label Mediteranos, but you can catch a glimpse now in this Make Oklahoma Weirder exclusive premiere of “Searing Emptiness” at the player below. 

If one were to consider philosopher Thomas Hobbes’ infamous quote — the one that suggests civilization prevents humans from a life “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” — one might think it describes “Searing Emptiness” quite well. After all, the title shares some similarity in pessimistic hopelessness.

Disregarding the obvious political mismatch — this track is more likely to be a stance against modern civilization than for it, given the works of Awful Eternity’s respective artists — the quotation gets some of the style correct. “Searing Emptiness” is one of the album’s noise cuts which intersplice less intense bouts of relaxed beat work and stuttering sounds in the tracklist of Wound Routes. It is angular, heavily distorted, and squealing with unrest. It is also barely more than a minute in length.

Still, the track is not antagonistic. Though unsuspecting listeners might consider it an assault on their ears, it’s hardly as noisy as noise music gets thanks to its tasteful mixing, varied composition, and thoughtful tones. In the right mindset, it becomes an atonal wonderland of glitches and fuzz.

However, the most undeniable difference is that first word, “solitary.” Art is a force that brings people together, and here are two powerhouses of experimental local music working as a single body. Even as Awful Eternity beckons thoughts of existential angst by its very name, it’s also a remedy. In the immediate present, it is a respite, a counterpoint, to the abyss, a point in time where the moment outweighs the infinite. Here, in the inspiration of others, an urgent life forms.

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aka Jarvix, the Chief Executive Weirdo of Make Oklahoma Weirder. His out-of-the-box music coverage has been published by the Oklahoma Gazette, KOSU, and The Oklahoman among others. He also makes DIY music as a solo multi-instrumentalist live looper in his spare time.

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