This is a Blog about Noise, Power Electronics, Post-Industrial and Experimental sounds.
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Reviews are by Choppy Noodles and Psymon Marshall.
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Choppy Noodles 2019
Time-Travelling Ghoul-Kin 2.The
Hanging Witch 3.The
Evil-Looking Boy 4.The
Disappearance of 1926 5.The
Eve of the Battle of Sarkomand 6.The
Negotiations with King Randolph 7.The
Coronation of the Chieftain
Seesar is an American
musician and sound creator, now transplanted to Shanghai, China, after having
studied music in London, UK. He’s always been interested in the Lovecraftian
Mythos as inspiration for cycles of musical composition, and Ghoul-Kin, his second release on Sombre
Soniks, is based entirely around a single character: Richard Upton Pickman. The
name is most associated with the tale ‘Pickman’s Model’ (1927), wherein the
titular character is associated with ultra-realistic painted depictions of
strange creatures, which Seesar here denotes as Ghoul-Kin. Over the course of
the tale, Pickman himself becomes one of the Ghoul-Kin, and disappears to parts
unknown. He is encountered again in ‘The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath’ (also
1927) in which he has been transformed into a ghoul, and on this recording
Seesar constructs a narrative connecting the two tales.
Seesar categorises his
compositions as Lovecraftian Futurist, embracing as it does the concepts of the
Lovecraft Mythos and the ideas of the Italian Futurists. The music itself is
created via the use of unfamiliar instrumentation (such as bicycle tyres and
spokes, suitcases, hairbrushes and combs, and a television wall mounting
bracket), which has the effect of forcing us to think of sound in new ways as
well as stripping away any specific cultural associations. The overall effect
is to tip us into an alien landscape, where dissonance and consonance exist in
a state of nervous tension, where positive and negative are practically one and
the same quality.
But, as noted by the
artist, it isn’t necessary to understand the academic underpinnings of the
compositions to get something from them, or to find oneself enveloped by the
atmospherics delineated here. The music is slippery, in the sense that the
sounds employed are organically-structured even though there is intention
behind every note. And if we tap into the mindscapes of Lovecraft’s Mythos
stories, these dreamlike assemblages, disjointed and freeform as they may
appear to be, do in fact make complete sense – after all our ordered world is
adapted to the mental and physical view we have of our reality and so it must
follow that the worlds Lovecraft envisioned are themselves fully adapted to the
mental and physical frameworks of the creatures inhabiting them. Outsiders will
find them disorientating and perhaps sickening.
Having noted that herein
lie works which very much stray outside the bounds of what most would define as
music, nevertheless it isn’t cacophonous, atonal, or dissonant. In fact the
squeaks, scrapings, screechings, percussive elements, crackles, and strange
voices coalesce into something which is strangely beautiful and beautifully
strange. The moods essayed here have the same goals as those of dark ambient,
or noise – they’re meant to take us out of ourselves, to transplant us out of
the familiar and comfortable, to a reality whose components and guidelines
differ vastly from our own.
Being conversant with
most of Lovecraft’s work, I can say that the atmospheres described in his work
have been captured very closely by the seven tracks put forth here. I’ve heard
other musical interpretations of Lovecraftian aesthetics, mostly dark/cinematic
ambient, which paint a picture of brooding malice and poison, but for me Lovecraft
depicted the utter banality of the monstrous and uncaring neutrality of the
‘gods’ inhabiting his imagined universe – these ‘creatures’ neither cared about
us nor noticed our presence, and they merely acted out their natures according
to their kind. Viewed in this context then, these compositions contain a kind
of aesthetic whose definition is neither good nor evil - it just is as it is.
For me, that is truly Lovecraftian.