The Epiphanies sees Bill Seaman in fine fettle, driving along phosphorescent-lit roads marked by the heavy dew of mystery and slow-to-develop intrigue. Delayed secrets are now only coming to light. The setting sun is the glorious backdrop as The Epiphanies coasts along a deserted road, its dark road-trip music glinting like the lightless, metallic chrome of the car’s body. A pack of coyotes come out to play, and further down the road some lusty, post-jazz musings at a local bar hint at dark dislocations. Nothing is right – the neon sign is too bright and things are a little off-kilter. Reality slips slowly away, like water through the fingers, drained as if from the last bottle of whiskey, until it can’t be grasped at any longer.
The sick, cloying perfume of cigarette smoke hangs in the air like a tired apparition. The lingering, too-wide smile of a cute bartender with a string of strange tattoos along her back and an old episode of Tiny Toon Adventures (circa 1990) rather than the latest game from the NHL graces the television’s pulpit, adding to the subtle sense of dislocation, and the music only gets darker, its dying light duelling with the fading sunset. The headlights are a lonely splash of colour at two in the morning, and as the music enters the long hours a velvet-smooth carpet of asphalt spreads out before the listener, the unfolding ambient textures helping to shape a smooth, virgin-pure road.
Dark wet trees and swaying branches are illuminated as the car drives through an eerie, sleeping town, with nothing but a slumping, somnambulant piano strolling up and down the dark, leaf-strewn sidewalk. Distant notes seem to croon into the space, somehow filtering in through the dead radio that needed replacing months ago, luring you into its monochromatic musical world.
You are the first visitor. You are also the last. There isn’t any other traffic…
Two tone / 4 panel hand made letter-pressed Somerset cotton covers, glass mastered CD, 20 x polaroid style prints by Nieves Mingueza printed on luxury 250gsm card, hand numbered 35mm photo slides (circa – 1960-70 – cardboard mounted – Kodak / Sears), patchouli scent. All of the above rests inside sealed matt-black darkroom negative envelopes.
I first came across Marihiko Hara’s work in 2007, with his ‘Cesura’ release on the excellent Italian net-label – Zymogen. It really drew me in more than most other work that was doing the rounds at the same time. It had the sort of organic details and attention to beautiful subtle developments that I had only really heard in offthesky and Nicolas Bernier before (both label mates on Zymogen I should add). It became my soundtrack to that year and an album I returned to almost daily during the winter months. After this I followed Marihiko’s work carefully, from his rather fantastic 2009 ‘Icon’ release on Cotton Goods to his recent ‘Prosa’ collaboration with Tomas Phillips on Tench Records.
This 44 minute piece may structurally resemble a classical composition – divided as it is into several interlocking stanzas – but it’s difficult to place it comfortably within the realm of modern music. If anything, ‘The Rest….’ evokes the otherwordly, fantastical obsessions of the Victorians (Conan Doyle, Lear, Grandville, Wellcome, etc) through means of meticulously manipulated instrumentation, samples and voice.Plinth, of course, is no stranger to Victoriana.
The compilation features 12 tracks from some of the globe’s most talented sound-designers. It is a subtly rewarding headphone listen from start to finish; curated and ordered to purposefully induce a state of sleep. Starting off minimally, gradually gathering tone and atmosphere, the experience goes on without ever boiling over or reaching a crescendo. Parts of the album are light and restful whereas traces of it tread darker territory. All in all, the imagery that the album conjurs sits perfectly as a soundtrack to the dreams one experiences during a nights sleep.