Commendatio – II

How do you feel? Good? Bad? Have you thought about whether you want mahogany or pine? Have you made your will (do you even have any shit in your name or close relatives you like)? Do you feel like Ivan Ilych, trapped in his room, with unidentifiable and annoying pain? Do you feel like you’re experiencing a quasi-death, strangled by boredom? Did you really believe your friends when they recommended that cool Netflix series with tigers and shit? Don’t believe them, believe me. Friends are evil. These are the recommendations of the week. Who am I even talking to?

Lemna- “Storytelling #1 – Reminiscences Of Inner Scenery”
[Horo Փ Noise – Ambient]

To listen to this album is to be permanently perched on the wall between the sweet calm of a freshwater stream – the ambient modeling – and a maritime gurgle capable of scaring even the callous hands of a Joseph Conrad used to the ocean’s moody swings – the rib-cracking and unexpected noise passages; that bestial throbbing of a synthesizer able to digitally breastfeed any instrument and put it at its service. The fourth track, for example, seems to be what a church organist would play if we exchanged his blood pressure medication for a quarter of LSD and injected him with a transhumanist chip on each wrist. No wonder Maiki Okimoto wrote this under the influence of a long-standing spell of insomnia. Lack of sleep is a hell of a drug.

Fluisteraars – “Bloem”
[Eisenwald Փ Black Metal]

A black metal album whose cover is a ream of happy poppies on a sunny day. Indeed, the album is called “Bloem” (flower, in English). But instead of choosing still lifes, nostalgically prostrate landscapes (a classic in 17th century Flanders painting; territory now inhabited by Fluisteraars), or flower wreaths at the door of a Pére-Lachaise columbarium celebrating some cirrhotic artists, these Dutch turned to life and sun. And unlike a certain band who, about six or seven years ago, released an album that talked about sunbathing and had an orange cover, the content itself is fucking good. Fluisteraars always seemed like the brightest band in this recent wave of Dutch black metal – just think of the black hole that is listening to Lubbert Das, Solar Temple, Turia or Nusquama. For instance, the second half of “Nasleep” manages to touch post-rock without being corny and overly melodramatic. “Eeuwige Ram”, on the other hand, has a small, naturalistic folk melody that smells like earth after a late afternoon rain. As if the Carpathians had been dragged by the neck into the North Sea and the Dutch plains filled themselves with wrinkles, where poppies could finally grow like in Helmand.

J. Carter – “Rejoice!”
[A Sunken Mall – VAKNAR – Opal Tapes Փ Ambient]

In the title, J. Carter asks us to rejoice – with an exclamation mark and all – but it’s not easy with a decidedly gloomy record. Right in the opening track, we remember the beautiful string soundtracks of Mihály Vig, immediately subduing our vision to black and white, albeit in an essay that is not about blindness but about clarity: after all, we’re the only animal that is aware of its own end – as the tiny “Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow” reminds us. Who is this person who’s speaking through an acoustic guitar, apparently outside the human sphere, with an eagerness to see skyscrapers and transport systems broken and eaten by gerund roots? The whole album unfolds in this death-driven 19th-century romantic waltz. One of the best so far this year,  where even the eternal Roberto Bolaño appears.

Léo Hoffsaes – “J’ai pour eux cet amour qui ne passe jamais, qui ne faiblit pas”
[enmossed Փ Field Recording – Ambient]

This is a street. We don’t know where it is, we don’t know who’s recording it, we don’t know who’s watching us. We hear dogs barking, birds chirping, cars passing by once in a while. It doesn’t look like a busy place. Maybe a village. Maybe one of those little green communities that usually settle in the contours of big cities – after all, Léo Hoffsaes is from Paris. A cuckoo insists on communicating. The dog barks again. There’s a human presence. Ravens. And the composer’s hand adds little details, like a mother straightening her son’s blanket in the evening.

Prurient – “Casablanca Flamethrower”
[Tesco Organization Փ Noise – Power Electronics]

I’m pretty sure Dominick Fernow is like those science fiction creatures who only cease to exist when all his particles are vaporized and eliminated. If we cut off his hands, he’ll create with his feet. If we cut off his head, two more will magically be born right on the same spot, like a cursed Medusa without anyone having the guts to take Perseus’s spot. After the exercises at Profound Lore – and, in between, a beautiful Halloween record – Prurient makes its debut with Tesco, a historic dark ambient/industrial label. It’s not surprising that the album has that side properly enhanced and magnified to the point of asphyxiation. Almost as if the spirits of Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement have finally acquired tendons, nerves, bones, muscles and the ability of locomotion. Oh, and a tormented voice, yes. Which tells us about tasty cannibalistic recipes, impalements, mutilations, human sacrifices, war crimes, and other leisure activities. Did you expect anything different?

Mangled State – “Stigma”
[Youth Attack Փ Hardcore Punk]

As usual with Youth Attack releases, there’s no time for bullshit or big introductions. It’s five little pieces of hardcore punk that blow up in your hands and leave you with a hole in your ugly muck, just like a 21st-century Phineas Gage. It takes you longer to read this than listening to this EP by guys from Church of Disgust and Creep Stare.