Split by THE SUN AND THE MIRROR (USA) /PSEUDODOXIA (ITA) review + interview 🇬🇧


To those unfamiliar with the world of dark ambient, drone or noise, the may seem identical; almost indistinguishable. However, a brief stroll through those territories reveals that, while there are undeniable similarities, those worlds can be a considerable distance apart. PSEUDODOXIA and THE SUN AND THE MIRROR represent two quite distinct approaches, with very little in common and perfectly distinguishable from each other. 

The first of them is the duo composed by Davide Destro, with some experience in these sonic fields, and Void, with several bands in his career, but none similar to this one. With their two tracks the Italians don’t hide their aim: to create a difficult to digest music using dark ambient as the main base, to which will be added a generous dose of noise (not to the point of creating an abrasive challenge), some drone given its practically static, industrial structure and a slight drop of black metal provided by Void‘s raspy vocals, although these have the sole function of adding another layer of discomfort and not being the protagonists.  The almost 20 minutes of music available serve more as a soundtrack to a hypothetical short film, experimental, repulsive and unpleasant. The use of the theremin in the short «Holy: PIG: Solace» of only 13 minutes increases this feeling, adding that 50’s horror touch to the overall ensemble.  It’s not the most hardcore of their styles, but PSEUDODOXIA make sure the experience is as forgettable and traumatic as possible. 

The other duo, THE SUN AND THE MIRROR, formed by Sarah and Reggie Townley, is a very different entity. To begin with, and on the basis of having the courage to plant a single 23-minute cut («The Relinquishment of Hope«) as their contribution. Mind you, every minute is worth it. The Americans don’t aim to horrify us like their split partners, but rather to put us in a mental trance through a rather soft ambient drone. Unlike other bands, the main distortion, the one that always remains, stays in the background of the mix at a subdued volume, without seeking to be the protagonist. That role will go to a clean guitar riff that consciously never quite takes off, and Reggie‘s deep vocals. Like a loop, the song barely moves forward, even with a sudden cut in its last third, after a few moments the song returns to the same thing, like a curse that narcotises us.  

It is, ironically and despite its 23 minutes, the most accessible side of the split, but it is also almost impossible to get out of, reverberating minutes and hours later in our heads. 

Splits are a very interesting format and we thought to throw some questions about them to Brucia records.

Subterráneo Webzine: Split albums have been around since the 80’ and, for what we’ve been able to read, they started doing it on vinyl and was meant to be a way, for the industries, to minimize the costs of production. Although weren’t we already doing this (in a DIY way, laughs) with cassettes back then? Have you any other info on split records that you could share with us?

Brucia Records: Split albums are not necessarily a way to reduce costs nowadays since the pressing plants don’t really care whether what your release is a full, en EP or a compilation – the cost per item is the same. I think for us first and foremost it is important to be loyal to a certain artistic vision and so we opted to release a split album because we believed it was a good fit for all parties involved, and it would have added value and allowed us to deliver something artistically interesting.

Subterráneo Webzine: Still, it took over CDs and it’s something that has never really disappeared from some underground circles. It probably is one of the few times that we have been able to turn a capitalist move into a way of spreading culture, community, and collaboration. Is that your goal here? Introducing each project to the other one’s public and, in this case, musical scene?

Brucia Records: Definitely agree with you there – we are surrounded by things that were originally created with a capitalist aim in mind, but ultimately people, bands and labels in this case – have always an opportunity to change the goalpost to something more noble than mere profit. We definitely wanted to broaden the band’s own following circles to get familiar and embrace a different project, but as said our intentions were predominantly artistic – and of course it helped that all the parties involved are a good fit on all levels, not only musically.

Subterráneo Webzine: What made these two projects come together for a record? How did you come to see them fitting in a shared album?

Brucia Records: We find that THE SUN AND THE MIRROR and PSEUDODOXIA have independently created music that sounded compatible despite having used each their own expressive language, and both had a story to tell which seemed particularly interesting if told together.There is also a more humanistic reason for this split and that is that the people behind all the projects involved, from both the bands and label perspective, are a close-knit circle of friends who also share values and a certain sensibility.

Subterráneo Webzine: The acronym of the split reads T.E.A.R.D.R.O.P. Having into account that PSEUDODOXIA sounds like an experimental horror film and THE SUN AND THE MIRROR like an astral trip, why did you name it as “teardrop”? What were you trying to evoke with this name? What hides behind the acronym?

Brucia Records: PSEUDODOXIA predominantly deals with the notion of memory and its unreliability, whereas the new mammoth single by THE SUN AND THE MIRROR is called «The relinquishment of hope» and is a meditation on how our longing for utopia prevent us from living our present, painful or joyful as it may be. So in a way half of the split relinquishes the past and the other half the future in an attempt to understand our pain. That made us think of a room with no doors or windows, as in a place where you can’t go to and cannot leave but you are just there experiencing the inevitability of your own pain, and so we thought that the teardrop was an appropriate image to represent this.