murmurists – I Cannot Tell You Where I Am Until I Love You (ALRN049)

Faeces of Death

Faces of Death

Artist: murmurists
Title: I Cannot Tell You Where I Am Until I Love You
Label: Alrealon Musique
Cat#: ALRN049
Keywords: Experimental, Ambient, Avant-garde, Soundtrack
Reviewer: Alex Spalding

Not everyone knows this, but there are many different layers of the underground. Here’s a convenient chart:

The Levels of Underground
Sometimes, an “indie” will burst up through fissures in the surface of pop, but it’s not too frequent of an occurrence.

Mount Yorke
Then, also, there’s shit like this: deserving your ears, but still just so… wild and experimental that it will perhaps lay buried under the mantle forever, despite really needing so much more attention from humanity. murmurists are a project I’m pretty familiar with, as years ago I put out some of the artists’ music on my old label Noise-Joy. They were one of my favourite projects, as well… so, needless to even say, I was quite excited when I received this album of theirs, out on the always-fantastic Alrealon Musique label!

That happened, like… forever ago, though. Yes, while it saddens me to reveal this shameful truth, I’ve been sitting on this egg for a very long time now, curious what may lay within but unable to bring myself to crack its shell and scramble myself with its contents. Like dropping acid, or milking a prostate… it just needed the right time.

Well… that time is now! I really can’t, in good conscience, put this off any longer.

The disc spins in its tray, and… oh! Sound! ‘I Cannot Tell You Where I Am Until I Love You’ begins with some inscrutable cacophony, drumheads and cymbals being rhythmically smashed, a low scream. Suddenly, a break… in which a gritty soundscape emerges. Timpani… a voice. Poetry, spoken word. Electronic damages, a textural bliss-void. Where are we going, how did we get there… it feels like a caravan of glitch moving across an expanse of dunes and steppes. Rolling mechanical parts, a dirge of clicks and rolled tape, a digitized pad drifts above. More spoken word… when the new voice leaves us, we are in the dark, a gloomy and desolate industrial park. Another voice… the recordings, I’m told from the liner notes, were from all over, and there are a lot of guests on this album. The vocal poem here with an accent reminding me of Anne Clark. More voices… the spoken word pieces feel like a individual monologues woven into a conversation by subject. Distorted drum grooves enter. Shimmering endless background abyss… sung verses in a frozen hell. This, and the looped ambiance that follows are so far the most moving sections of the album I’ve heard. As it fades away, the timpani re-emerges. This whole thing is bizarre. Space, here, after the last poem, punctuated by low, harmonic timbres of manipulated sound. It feels like we’re traveling with insomnia through the leaky pipes of an apartment complex with the hums of distant refrigerators our only companion. Poetry, and the sonic blasts of broken thresholds, electronic pulses cavorting. Soon after, a textured horror VHS witch vibe… more poetry… arrangements of noise like applause. Warped, unidentifiable noises, revving like a motor but spun like silk. It’s like someone opened the front door and a gust of wind let itself in. Sounds quite stormy. Sharp, resonant signal… reversed sound of something kicked over, and animals in the dark… a harmony of pads, very lovely. Falls away, replaced by a glitchy audio voice mail message, very unsettling and nice. One of the things I love most about murmurists is that the projects’ soundwork is always so mutational. After the next bit of poetry, distorted electronics play atonally and loop, sickly. More timpani! Some of the poetry here is recited as if a monologue from a David Lynch film, though I try to avoid referencing David Lynch directly when it can be avoided because he’s not the only weird film-maker out there. A textural ambient space opens, of gutteral frequencies. As they begin to mellow and the mood shifts perceptibly, the effect is very nice, however brief. Poetry… then, some noise! Birthed chaos. Loving the harmonies of the lower order bass synths. The mix is like a world thrust open now, there is a filling of dead space with reverberations, noises with unknown origin… screams, guitar, choir, feedback.

Well, it was worth a wait! I hope you’ll consider getting this for yourself at the link. What link, you ask? Why, this one of course:

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