Rex Casswell: electric guitar; Phillip Marks: percussion; Paul Obermayer: samples
The gorgeously named Fume Of Sighs has been the object of an experiment performed by yours truly, who lived with this album – exclusively – for three days. At home, on the train, in the streets. Everywhere. The consequence is easily interpretable, synthesized by a simple conception: even the most convoluted audible structures – including the ones that could appear as mind-consumingly fatiguing with a dilettantish plan of attack – become an antimicrobial second nature subsequently to an exhaustive process of assimilation.
An emblematic mistake made by percipients who normally bath in tides of cascading synths reiterating the same unremarkable drone for 25-plus minutes until a sampled beatific consort enlightens their clever lives and over-average individualities is that of forcing themselves to a (theoretically indispensable) secernment of the mechanics of interrelation between unusual timbres and unpredictable acoustic paths. If a proper preparatory activity is missing, that is the way to inherit a cephalgia from the failure of identifying the meaningful core of the matter. This lack of awareness is typically expressed by sentences describing flakey phenomena in vivid wording while emphasizing the lone elements that can be effortlessly recalled. Considering that a segment called “The Theoretician” features the sample of a grunting swine, we’re authorized to believe that Bark! seem to be inclined to assist potential masses with apprehensible concepts, after all.
Seriously, now. When one forgets about factors of characterization, mandatory compartmentalizations and related activities, all that remains is realizing that those polymorphic combinations are working subliminally (in spite of their immoderate dynamical and timbral variety) to beef up inner cerebral muscles. What’s perceived as pandemonium ab initio is, on the contrary, tightly arranged by the organic glue of originative intuition. Amidst crucial intersections of skewed non-tempos, bushwhacking patterns self-generate to offer a warranty of symmetricalness and balance. The brightness, crispiness, humor, exactitude, intelligibility of a given composition might help in fixing selected parts of the record inside the memory cells. A previous experience in managing the multi-ball feature of a pinball machine is also useful (I’m not kidding: picture holding a ball ready on the left flipper and – at the same instant – launching another against the “special” target with the right, keeping an eye on the score in the meantime. What do you know, Playstation nerds? We had great fun, exercised reflexes and, above all, didn’t look like grimacing retards). In “journalistic” terms, inviting to “listen to the peg-legged pulse of the title track” translates as “pathetic”, exactly as telling that “a broken china versus drums pairing gets exhilarating as the distorted guitar comes in” (it happens in “A Room Each”). All is needed to understand is how galvanizing this CD is. And if you get somewhat used to its propinquity, be careful not to grin on the local promenade: if someone asks “what are you listening to?” and you pass them the headphones, your social relations risk to be permanently altered.