Keith Berry – Elixir

[Reviewed by Peter Marks]

It is a rare occurrence to come across an album which pulls you out of your surroundings so completely; when I received ‘Elixir’ I could not make heads or tails of it, I’ll admit. With several listenings under my belt I can now definitely state that the record in question clearly is cut from a far stranger cloth than I could have imagined. 2017 bodes well for experimentalism if this is the caliber of it already in March. Oh woe to you who happily bob along on the surface of popular culture, you’ve no idea how intense the currents are beneath your vacuous ego… all one must do is look down. Go within.

The music which this man composes is wrenched from every emotion a human being is capable of feeling.

This is my first meeting with Keith Berry and it won’t be the last: his music hangs in the air never abating, refusing to give up any sort of explanations. If you’re afflicted by technology then this is the perfect curative; the text fragment within parses out a few clues but obscures them by means of literary cunning, design motifs and illustrations which look older than written words or recorded sound. Further into the overwhelming, murky past that is the subconscious we are pulled. The tracks keep playing, the thoughts continue wandering, the waking mind becomes more an abstract concept.

Concrete reality disappears.

Mutterings of swirling, endlessly decaying audio compliment and collaborate with one’s memories in this place; it is easy to sense the passage of time through these compositions and if you close your eyes while listening you’ll feel it moving through all the synapses, nerves, vessels and cells the body possesses. ‘Elixir’ is not merely a salve for the soul it is an immersive crescendo of unbound imagination breaking every which way. That he’s managed to contain such a volatile combination of hostile elements is impressive and it is truly moving to recognize how he did so: through the usage of beauty.

Across the years. Through the triumphs, losses, adulation and laments. Slowly the songs dissolve much like dreaming itself. I knew a moment ago where I’d been but now it is gone, no amount of concentration can bring it back. That landscape which had been rendered in perfect detail is now nothing more than tatters of memory… to know and yet not know, this is the effect Berry’s stylings have. Taken into the furthest regions of existential space; casting out one’s own inhibitions, sacrificing all. The reward is to see revealed before you a realm of glittering possibilities which become tangible only for the blink of an eye before vaporizing into the ether.

Keith Berry – Elixir
Invisible Birds, ib010
CD/Digital 2017

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