Bandcamp Picks of the Week 4/13/16
Batushka – LITOURGIYA
Genre: Black Metal
Favorite Tracks: “Yekteniya 1,” “Yekteniya 3,” “Yekteniya 5”
Although having to navigate the “meme metal” label hastily placed upon them by the knee-jerk decision makers of the internet, LITOURGIYA is more than its “gimmick” would suggest. If you weren’t previously aware, this record’s already enjoyed a storied and contested history since its release a mere five months previously due to the fact that it’s structured in the same way as an Eastern Orthodox Divine Liturgy and employs hefty dollops of Gregorian chant. However, what makes Batushka so much more viable than many of their peers content to use similar elements for cheap aesthetic value alone is the fact that the Gregorian chants are actually brought to the forefront in lieu of the black metal. That’s not to say that there aren’t the requisite pummeling passages of otherworldly screams and machine-gun drumming, but more so to compliment the band on the colossally ominous atmosphere that they most decidedly earn with their loving, careful consideration of the liturgical elements. Black metal has its roots in a deep-seeded and passionate hatred for all things religious, and there’s nothing more profane or kvlt than desecrating the very structure through which more traditional veins of religion are propagated. However, people are often prone to forgetting that there is most certainly an arcane and morally contested element to early Christian mysticism, and the juxtaposition of the Gregorian chanting with the Hellish instrumentation ensure that the audience is always considering the thin line that separates God from his fallen angel. You can listen to it here.
The Caretaker – AN EMPTY BLISS BEYOND THIS WORLD
Genre: Turntable Music
Favorite Tracks: “All you are going to want to do is get back there,” “Libet’s delay,” “Camaraderie at arms length,” “The sublime is disappointingly elusive”
Another somewhat controversial selection, AN EMPTY BLISS BEYOND THIS WORLD can be boiled down to a large collection of ripped songs from obscure and anonymous prewar 78s. As such, it occasionally ruffles the feathers, as some take umbrage over just how much (or little) The Caretaker is actually contributing to this work that he calls his own. However, performing the role of the caretaker is exactly what The Caretaker is doing; if it weren’t for his delicate and unobtrusive touch, these records would wither away without consequence instead of being represented here as the slowly decaying soundtrack to a spectral ballroom. As is often the case with releases of this nature, the context of the album adds innumerable layers of depth. Inspired by the fact that Alzheimer’s patients can allegedly recall information more effectively when it is placed within the context of music, the tracks on AN EMPTY BLISS BEYOND THIS WORLD follow the characteristics of a faulty mental capacity, looping a singular motif again and again, halting abruptly, or flowing without overt regard to temporal or dynamic structure. Many find the proceedings disturbing, but I see it as an extremely melancholy effort, reminding us all of our impending demise and gradual descent into obscurity and the irrelevant. You can listen to it here.