Eliot’s The Waste Land is a masterpiece of poetry. It is stark, vast, singular, and dreadful. At once immediate and unknowable, it is a tale of desolation, decay, and death told in hallucinatory fragments. Poetry is often like this. So also is music. Though, obviously, not all of it. Most popular music pushes back against this concept by creating sounds that are pleasant and accessible, though they may not always leave a very lasting impression. It isn’t intended to confuse or disturb. Instead, it thrives on its lack of offensiveness, opening itself to the widest swath of listeners that it can for maximum outreach and effect. This is not an inherently bad thing, by any stretch. Accessible music is no less valuable because of its ease of approach. But there are times when music almost ceases to feel like music at all, but instead a shattered mirror reflecting musical impressions rather than solid, knowable forms. This is music that digs itself deep into the subconscious with its unrelenting strangeness, leaving the listener exposed to sounds that give no shelter, no relief. Gravetemple falls squarely in this most peculiar of musical spaces, and Impassable Fears begs the listener to abide in this space of abject peculiarity. It is as frustratingly obtuse and unsettling as it is sonically rapturous. Like Eliot, it creates a strange noise, and is all the more wonderful for it.
Note: This is the first part in a two-part *prognotes series on Father John Misty’s Pure Comedy. In an effort to keep this piece at only two parts, this new installment includes the now-deleted previous post from last week as well as additional analysis.
There are albums which change your life. You listen to them once and you are impaled, transmogrified by the experience, wholly unable to go on being the same person. That is the power of music and that’s what we’re all searching for, all of us on the blog. In 2013, the year before my life broke down for the first time, I found such an album and I haven’t shut up about it since (seriously, we’ve posted so much about Anathema and I can’t stop). It was Anathema’s Weather Systems and it completely changed my outlook on life. So, here I am, writing my most important of Love Letters to one of my most important musical discovery’s. Weather Systems is both an extremely clever work of music and an extremely moving piece of art, a wonderful story on transformation and the power of the self.
Split recordings are a somewhat risky proposition. As a concept, splits call for a certain level of coherence, while demanding some semblance of variety at the same time. After all, if you’re looking for a two-fer, there’s little reason for each side of the record to sound exactly the same. Thankfully, Canadian death metal groups Fumigation and The Path of R’lyeh understand this dynamic, and have released an excellent, cohesive, yet appropriately diverse death metal onslaught with Invasion.