JOHN DUNCAN – The Tailing

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John Duncan: Hammond organ, video

A 38-minute, cryptic-as-ever offer by Duncan. The frazzled slow motion of the black and white picture offers inconspicuous flashes of pornographic/S&M action interspersed with short pauses where everything is drowned in darkness. One distinguishes very little on a first stab but, already at the second, glimpses of male masturbation and bondage practices emerge amidst the film’s fuzzy shadows. The music was totally improvised on the Hammond, its constitutive temperament that of a soundtrack for an ambiguous liturgy. Semi-dissonant harmonic transitions suffused with sinister inscrutability get scarred three/four times by the abrupt entrance of a permanent droning fluctuation acting like a stubborn interference, the ears congested by oscillating waves until things regress to the initial morbid murkiness. The last minutes are underlined by the progressive increase of the picture’s unintelligibility, accompanied by a swelling of the organ clusters’ puissance. Duncan’s attraction towards the aspects of our psyche that we usually prefer to keep hidden away is well-documented; in this circumstance, his approach to the matter seems to be carried out through a symbolization of the incommunicable metaphors deriving from the meeting of sexual fantasy and sleep/intoxication, the whole leaving us speechlessly perplexed once more.

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