Wind Burial – We Used to Be Hunters
By Patrick Galactic
As it turns out, Craigslist isn’t just a place to meet hookers, get scammed on brand-new used cars, and apply for jobs. If it was, the world would never know the ethereal, hypnotic psych-rock of Wind Burial.
A quartet composed of three ex-New Yorkers and a Seattleite, the band was formed through the black magic of internet advertisement. Husband and wife duo Derek Terran (drums, Rhodes) and Kat Terran (vocals, Moog) met both of their bandmates, bassist Justin McCormick and guitarist Alan Gutierrez, through the C-List…except at the time McCormick was playing cello and Gutierrez was a bassist. Naturally, there was shuffling around to do which eventually led McCormick to play guitar and Gutierrez to play bass….wait, what?
“Yeah, Alan just showed up one day with a 12-string and we loved it,” says Kat Terran of Gutierrez’s switch to guitar (and McCormick’s to bass). Adds Gutierrez “I don’t really know how to play guitar, bass is definitely my instrument.”
Glad we cleared that up. Welcome to the paradox of Wind Burial.
Originally conceived in 2007 as Snowdrift, a well-reviewed dream pop project, the band eventually drifted (terrible, I’m sorry) into a louder, more dynamic direction.
Kat elaborates, “Snowdrift was an ethereal, long, spacious project. Suddenly we got this bug to have more electricity going. It didn’t resemble the old stuff we were playing at all.”
Rechristened as Wind Burial, they released their debut EP in October of 2013 to critical acclaim, performed on KEXP, toured the East Coast and returned ready to record their first full-length album…in Anacortes…in a hollowed-out church.
How does one go about selecting an empty house of worship? Glad you asked. Derek Terran explains, “There’s a network of non-denominational pagans that know about the churches being used for non-church things.” So…the fucking witches made ‘em do it?!
There were apparently musical reasons too, as Kat explains, “We wanted to work with Nich (Wilbur, engineer) because we liked a record he helped put out. We got there the first day and it was full of glockenspiels and vibraphones and organs that were completely gutted with their parts all over the place. The space just kept calling us back to it.”
Alan agrees, “It was great to utilize the high ceilings for natural reverb, and not just for guitar. It sounded great on everything.” Wind Burial secret attained! The secret to making a great album is shitloads of natural reverb… and witches.
Set for release on March 17, the band’s first full-length We Used to be Hunters finds a group confident in their shared powers of creation. Together the better part of ten years, their instincts finely tuned to each other’s tendencies, Wind Burial weaves effortlessly between folk, psych, shoegaze and even classical influences. Hunters changes mood frequently without ever losing its musical and lyrical narrative. The relentless pace of “Kissing the Curves of the Earth” is countered by the methodical tempo and otherworldly menace of “Traveler.”
No matter how different from each other they are, no song seems out of place. Guitar, drums, synth and bass dance around Kat Terran’s haunting and, at times, explosive vocals without overwhelming the mix. The art of dynamic tension is perfected only through years of exploration and experimentation.
In the end, experimentation may be Wind Burial’s greatest asset. Unafraid of change, their creative ambition transformed them from the critically-lauded dream pop outfit Snowdrift to a critically-lauded psych-rock powerhouse in just a year’s time. And none of that would have been possible without Craigslist and witches. – (8/10)