[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
If there are design awards to be handed out in the underground, Osmiroid would without doubt sweep the field. This is an incredibly intricate triangular package which contains two mini-discs that hold one track upon each. One yellow, one grey with hints of blue. Sealed with a smoldering red seal, you feel as though you yourself are trespassing by investigating what lies within. Behold the Mezzotint. A story read by Richard Holliss on disc one and then re-configured by Osmiroid on disc two.
The tale itself is a remarkable one, I’d very much like to hear the unabridged version of it. A man comes into the possession of an unusually animated Mezzotint (engraving) which as time passes reveals a back story through tricks of the light. Each of his friends views this piece and amusingly enough, they all draw up documents swearing to what they’ve seen. Something has been observed moving across the lawn by one, then into the window by implication and in an aside to systems of class, a servant named Robert comes away with his own experience with it. Unlike the upper crust men of learning who had taken the view of curious peculiarity, Robert has gotten a bird’s eye view of precisely what had been slinking through the scene.
Perhaps the figure within this depiction senses a sort of familiarity with him. A familiarity which brings out the fullest of revelations along a line of thought which may go something like this: have they gone? Yes, the coast is clear.
A tome of familial enmity between two men who have played a sort of cat and mouse game through the years. Most chillingly of all, not one of the protagonists remains alive… so what they’ve been seeing is a sort of remembered sequence of events carefully wrought in sympathetic inks (no effect has been detected as of yet) which once out of their hands refuses to change ever again. This could be a matter of debate, I’m sure, the hidden events which transpire in the rooms of gentlemen. You wonder how much they actually see and how much this inert drawing is pulling out of their individual subconscious’s.
Beyond this enchanting composition we get Osmiroid’s first remix of it, which is very dissonant and uses this feature to build up the dread in your throat like a mistakenly swallowed grapefruit. This isn’t the only version to be found on here, five additional versions are located in the digital edition. Osmiroid does another, then comes a group(?) who go by the name of the Transit board who further desiccate the original source material and stretch what precious little remains over the gnarled bones of this story quite admirably. Black Hair Rolled in Dried Blood (who have an inescapably brooding album out entitled ‘Ghost Signal Landscape’) drift up out of the ether with their reconstruction and attempt to channel the thoughts of that malignant phantom in the Mezzotint to remarkable effect.
Senor Alec Thompson delivers a concise take, replete with tinkling disturbances. His work comes at you like an ever expanding whirlpool which grows in strength when you make the mistake of looking away for even the briefest moment. Rounding out the proceedings, we find Commodore Meniscus deconstructing the field of sound to suit his own ends. What this one manages to do is to make you look up repeatedly to make sure there’s even anything coming out of your speakers. He, more than any of the others on here, captures the spirit and brooding menace of the Mezzotint in perfect detail. He, too, has a pair of releases out and neither of them are to be trifled with lightly.
Are you alone, are you awake, are you dreaming?
The Mezzotint does not come recommended for those who view experimental work as something to confound others with. It is not meant to be abrasive or disquieting for the simple sake of it. This release is designed to be thoroughly explored, it is crafted with the utmost care given to details and setting. The plot is imperative, the remixes give us shades of perspective which mere words can only hint at but never fully realize. One’s mind spins off; tangents of thought present themselves in exponential degree, the narrative has just been given license to go well beyond the bounds of the page.