[Reviewed by stark]
ENG: The first part of the “Epicurean Escapism” series comes out as the second in order. Interestingly, the release of the same title and catalogue number has already seen the light of day in 2012, but it included a completely different material, though created by the same artists: Krank, IRM, Human Larvae, Anemone Tube and Jarl. Martin Bladh of IRM has got an additional opportunity to present himself in a 24-page album and a DVD.
We already hosted Krank a while ago. More than ten minutes of “Half Eyes Closed” confirms the high quality of the project’s music and at the same time it introduces a fresh element in comparison to the split cassette with The Grimsel Path. Next to the raw, yet this time rather restrained industrial generated by John Murphy, the female vocals play an equal part. It’s Annie Stubbs’ voice with a jazzy flavour, straight from a bar, drowning in cigarette smoke, somewhere in Los Angeles during the 1940s, which in combination with Murphy’s disharmonious madness gives a truly original effect. I’ve used many adjectives with positive overtones referring to other releases recently, but I can’t recall if I used this one. It’s really something.
“Triptych” by the Swedish trio IRM indeed consists of three segments, it’s a peculiar combination of the material contained on “Indications of Nigredo”, “Order4” and “Closure …”, that we reviewed not so long ago at Santa Sangre. At the beginning the listener is attacked by a massive wall of sound and wildly desperate vocals. Later on “Triptych” gets more atmospheric, yet more gloomy at the same time. It crawls drudgingly, in the company of the vocals of a man writhing in agony or ecstasy. Or both. The end takes the most surreal form, with a monotonous drone in the background and white noise shredded into small pieces, plus this unique voice in the foreground. The last minute of the track, quiet, whispered, all the more pounding on the ears. The whole mix put together takes on a whole new dimension of epic.
If you don’t know what it’s like to fall into the eye of the storm and pray not to be torn into myriads of pieces, you should listen to Anemone Tube. The intensity of the sound that Stefan can achieve is incomparable to anything else. “Shining With Insignificance / Reviving In Obscurity” is created together with Daniel Burfoot of Human Larvae. When this piece began to pour from the speakers, I just fell down on the floor overwhelmed by its force and a few gray hairs grew on my head. The second part of the composition instead of finally pressing me to the ground, gave me its hand and calmed me with dense, but beautifully melancholic drones. It revived me, according to the title, but the view of the sun is no longer invigorating. “Reviving in Obscurity” is eternal drifting in a thick, infinite mist.
Most of the CD space belongs to Erik Jarl. In addition to the seventeen minutes of IRM, you can also listen to him solo in a twenty -five minute long composition beautifully entitled “A Case Of Inbreeding: A Homage To My Doppelganger”. This piece is almost half an hour of pulsating drone and metallic machinery roaring around it. The intensity of its work grows with every minute. Reverb gives space to the track, but it makes that despite the cold which the music emanates, you get the paradox impression that this metal begins to melt, transforms into liquid form and gets into all bodily orifices. After the fifteenth minute there is no more air to breathe.
A beautiful piece of music. I have a feeling that I like this edition of “Epicurean Escapism” even more than the previous one, even though it was difficult to reproach anything to “Epicurean Escapism II”. Strength times rape, as my boss used to say. And all this is flavored with the right dose of suggestive atmosphere. I’m impressed.
The DVD belongs to Martin Bladh and I’d be lying if I said that I can watch the whole thing in one go. It’s a raw and uncompromising penetration into the mind of the artist, who, in the form of short, abstract, tape-recorded performances reveals – literally and figuratively – his fascination with the degeneration which grows like a malignant tumor in the soul of all people, without exception. I also see an attempt to illustrate the interaction between torturer and victim on a physiological and sexual level, as well as a fascination with the ugliness of the human body and the ability to use it as a material to create a cubist work of art. In a sense, an extension of the DVD material is the aforementioned album containing an introduction by Carl Abrahamsson and several of Bladh’s texts appropriately illustrated. Disgusting? Yes. But at the same time fascinating and still sticking in your head long after you have removed the disc from the player.
The Epicurean and Silken Tofu once again deliver a product that goes far beyond the realm of what might be called “entertainment”. The edition itself is also very eye-catching. Limited to 350 copies, so if you find it somewhere, buy at all cost.