The Use – What’s The Use?

The Use - What's The Use?

Here, you gaze upon the album art. The card I drew to represent this art was The Hermit. Meditating upon the meaning of this, I could only conclude that this album was of great Hermetic significance, and is of a spirit of singularity of purpose; a solitary work took place, by either an individual or a unit functioning in tandem, isolated in darkness.

Artist: The Use
Title: What’s The Use?
Label: Alrealon Musique
Cat#: ALRN052
Keywords: Electronic, Experimental, Avant-garde, Beats
Reviewer: Alex Spalding

Welcome! No, do not tell me… the reason you are here will soon be made clear. Please, sit reader… the cards shall reveal the nature of thy query. Let me shuffle… now place thy hand upon the pack. Yes, like that… ah, now I will flip to reveal…

The DevilAaagh… The Devil! You must have arrived for another installment of daemonic music reviews from the devilishly charming Alex Spalding, then!? I’m… flattered… to possess your souls! Mwa ha ha ha… *cough*

Devilin' ain't easy.

Devilin’ ain’t easy.

You are privy to a very special review this evening… I’m going to do a 10-card spread, one card to represent each piece of music on this album. Then, it is my will to listen intently to the entirety of this recording, drawing parallels between the cards drawn and the sounds or thematic elements of each, musing on the infernal accuracy of the spread throughout.

Let us begin!

For the first leg of our hero’s journey, I drew…

ChangeTwo Of Disks: Change! It’s titled ‘Hello Everybody’, which certainly implies a change of a kind, from the isolation of one to the addition of another… perhaps, as the first track on the disc, we could infer this card relates to the beginnings of whatever has been set in motion by this work. Like, putting the disc into a disc player? A snake, a peculiar ouroboros, creates a figure-eight while coiled around the disks… Jupiter, that rotund roulette, represents the movement of fixed material whilst in Capricorn. Right away, I hear the swirl of motion, followed by strings. A very nice sequence unfolds, then a 4/4 kick! Well, what better way to make otherwise immobile matter move than with a house groove? The track is very avant-garde, with familiar electronic sounds arranged in strange, playful, eccentric ways.

We move forward to ‘Aunt Joanne’s Metaphysics’, for which I drew…

Wealththe Ten Of Disks: Wealth. Just look at all those occult symbols! I feel like Scrooge McDuck about to swim in his vault of coin! It relates to the Mercurial energies of mind in the sign of Virgo, earthen mutability. I see already a progression forming. Matter has finally accumulated here, and the sound is a clamor of trickling, electronic piss. Then, very simple wave forms converge, with layers of echo, followed soon by a dense bass. Everything sounds as heavy as this card, Malkuth in the sphere of Earth. Lovely synth arpeggios threaten to rise back into the Aether. What goes down, must come up. I love the slight touches of talkbox choir lurking in there! The synths begin to flicker out, then they disappear; the temporal quality of earthly things.

Track 3 is to be represented by…

AbundanceThree Of Cups: Abundance! It’s called ‘Where Ya Been? [Feat. Trinitron]’. There are voices… a bassline emerges, and then an uptempo kick drum, some very awesome damaged-sounding ’80s arps! The symbolism is like a whirlwind of indulgences; of the pomegranate, the mythology of Persephone; the word of the will reflects in the pools of the receptive element of water. Mercury in Cancer. While staring at the card, and listening, I begin to feel as though I, too, am showering in the lotus founts, and spinning, pleasurably intoxicated. Trinitron’s voice grows louder, and the electric piano feels like a calm sea around her, drops falling and distorting the surface.

Next is ‘Time Burton’, and the card I received was…

Queen Of Disksthe Queen Of Disks! Water of Earth. Acid sequences, strange sounds fluttering, modulating… the Queen looks upon the uncultivated span of plains to see new life begin to rise, and she is seated, her spiral horns rising, with the goat. She’s a passive, quiet character, like… Edward Scissorhands, chillin’ in his deceased creators’ mansion-castle with his shrub art, and looking from above at the barren suburban wastelands, dreaming. This card characterizes the transition from Sagittarius to Capricorn (free, fecund fire to reservedly ambitious earth) sitting amidst vegetation. It relates to fertility. There is an element of these qualities to the music, as it leaps and bounds to the places the archer gazed upward toward, sounds climbing like goats to the tops of mountains, fire returning to earth.

‘Dying Breed’ got me…

Worksthe Three Of Disks: Works. It’s got a subdued, electro vibe! The card is the influence of Mars in Capricorn… we’re really developing a narrative here, many thematic elements seem to be unfolding. It’s a constructive energy, hence the pyramid. What I love about the music are the bizarre jazz elements, the slimy groove, like quicksand. The scales and sounds used are unusual and hypnotic. It feels still like we’re climbing toward something. Guitar makes its entrance, as hollowed dead drums return and then the onset of a thick, multi-voiced bass sequence with a touch of portamento.

Afterward, I drew…

Prince Of DisksPrince Of Disks! The air of earth. Kind of insane how many disks I’ve been getting. Possibly it is because I am reviewing this on compact disc. The cards are often possessed of a cheesy humor like that. This is for track 6, titled ‘Slim’s Pursuit’, by the way. It has a repeating pulse-wave sequence, a nice electro groove. Some hoovers blast in. The energy of the card denotes the transition from Aries into Taurus; great energy brought to bear on physical matters. Persevering, cautious, stolid, work-oriented, practical-minded, always finding new ways of using common things. The music, too, finds a large amount of novelty in its use of familiar wave-forms and sounds. The bpms suddenly drop, and sounds blurt in, chaotically, and yet it feels like there is so much movement still. Very heavy, still.

And what do we get next, but…

Knight Of Disksthe Knight Of Disks! The fire of earth. Wow. The track is called ‘Ripe’, and this knight looks upon a harvest. He represents the transition from Leo (leonine and vital, ever-burning fire) to Virgo (the sign of passive earth, crops), also quite fitting. The energies are creativity, toil, fertility, the plow, and growth. It’s like the sounds are trickling at first, and then I hear a low, plodding bass kick. I’m loving the subtle harmonic chord stabs, and melodically, this is one of the best tracks! It’s bright, a strange dance that grows heavier as it goes, slowed by inertia of some kind only toward the end.

Following that comes ‘Bird Song [Feat. Rachel Mason]’, and I drew the…

SorrowThree Of Swords: Sorrow. Shit. That’s one of the worst in the pack, and represents Binah’s rule in the realm of intellect, and relates to the weight of Saturn in the sign of Libra, intellect and balance. An enormous black cloud of depression sets in, the darkness of a great ocean. Sounds bang out in the dark. There’s a tracing of the brightness of the last track, but there’s a morbidity, and a steady feeling like a broken quietude, shattered mirrors. I’m hearing the voice of Rachel Mason, speaking about oceans and moons and thinking, ok, the symbolism does fit after all. The rhythms crunch about, melancholic chords hang like stratus above us, pouring rain.

Well, we then come to a track called ‘And God Created Great Cephalopods’. I picked up…

Queen Of CupsQueen Of Cups. Water and water. I’m sure cephalopods, as creatures of the waters, relate quite well to the suit of cups! This card is the transition from Gemini to Cancer, communication to a retreat back into our shells. Tranquil, unbroken; a reflection, a pool, filled with light and the symbolism of seas. This queen, her natural state being that of reflecting influence, and having just come through the previous card, her relation and interplay with it cannot be ignored, and it is possible that this card may be considered as it connects to the narrative thus far: broken, distorted, reflections of melancholy. Truly, such would describe the sound of the piece, as noises seem to break down, no longer organic in any sense, and still very much weighted in contemplative moods.

For the final piece, ‘Halo Alchemy’, I drew…

Defeatthe Five Of Swords: Defeat. Venus, planet of love, in cold Aquarius, is a display of weakness, and of sentiment leading to a fall. Acoustic guitar sequenced, effected, and low rumbles, a sentimental music box quality to the other layers, highly modulating. Crickets chirp. Where is the defeat? Has the album been slayed by this, the final track? Chords rise, then fall to morose chords, onto which are superimposed layers of bell.

Well… one card to rule them all… here we go…

PleasureSix Of Cups: Pleasure! Well, that’s pleasant! And… suitable to the experience I’ve had, as well I am sure to the one the artists had creating it! It shows the radiant, expressive influence of the Sun (vital patron of individual expressions of art, music) in the watery, transmutative sign of Scorpio. Thus, it is a more transcendental take on the idea of pleasure than that of the physical world; it represents harmony with natural forces, ease of expression, and satisfaction.

I wonder if perhaps there were any, hidden meanings at work to syncretize the cards with each of the tracks on this album?

Anyway, for the truly diabolical, here thou may seek a link to the beyond whereby the album fore-mentioned can be wickedly procured…

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2 Responses to The Use – What’s The Use?

  1. MD says:

    Thanks a bunch!!!! You guessed many of the techniques and nailed the moods . Twas a pleasure and a chore in equal measure to make this disc..but purely a pleasure to have it, and even more so this review!

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