#84 | Interview | Grave Blankets (Striking Ambient/Noise Mood Palettes from Philadelphia)

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Grave Blankets is an amorphous ambient/industrial/noise/drone/experimental trio residing in the Philadelphia area. Their debut self-titled EP was released in September of 2018 by the Pennsylvania-based experimental music label, Flag Day Recordings. This album I discussed with Connor back in November 2018 on our Voices From Corners Unknown series and it’s one that I found utterly heart-wrenching. The first couple of tracks on the EP paved a pathway etched with anxiety, confusion, and a lingering sense of wonder. Coils of grating noise churned in icy shadows as industrial throbs faintly reverberated. Eventually, it transitioned into an ambient reprieve, porting us to the poignant fourteen-minute closer track, one which rattled such a tender nerve in me as it paid respects to Alex, the brother-in-law of the Grave Blankets drummer Kyle, who passed away from an overdose.

What is of intrigue regarding Grave Blankets is their ability to experiment with such a diverse breadth of genres, noises, and moods; hence, the amorphous descriptor. Their upcoming LP, Things We Leave Behind, journeys (in part) to fields of post-rock while harboring brighter ambient passages, which were near non-existent on their EP. They also have produced a 33-minute droning noise track to be released as a split with Pittsburgh noise artist Easy Bake Oven on Rorer 714 Recordings. And additionally, the trio has a couple other splits on the way, one with experimental ambient outfit Motel Shadows and one with Bangkok harsh noise artist Ganmad 737.

Beyond the amorphous qualities of Grave Blankets’ sound, the way they go about producing their songs is quite atypical too. At the outset, I presumed Kyle, Dave, and Steve pieced together their evocative sound palettes in a studio or practice space. Though this is not the case. They actually record the bulk of their tracks by sending sound files back and forth to each other via email, adding layers and crafting textures over the course of a single day or several. And what they ultimately seek in their sonic crafting is an emotion—be it warm, consoling, anxiety-inducing, what have you—that resonates with the listener.

In this conversation, all three members of Grave Blankets discuss the piecing together of their debut EP. They describe how the band formed, their writing process, and they divulge some details about their new LP. They also articulate an intriguing notion whereby each member’s contributions to Grave Blankets are for the collective of the outfit and not for egotistical inflation. Thank you so much for listening.

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You can grab a physical or digital copy of Grave Blankets’ EP via the Flag Day Recordings Bandcamp page or from the band’s Bandcamp page. You can stream their EP on Spotify as well.

You can also follow Grave Blankets on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date on new developments from the trio.

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