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- Harvester – [MP3]
- Good Life
- And The Stars
- The 9oçlock Train To Oblivion
- Laughing Gas – [MP3]
- Doughnut – [MP3]
- Revolution 834
Edward Ka-Spel – Synthesizer [Old And New], Organ [Electric], Percussion, Performer [Found Sounds], Voice
Raymond Steeg – mastering
Recorded at Limburghia and The Mermaid’s Rock in Winter 2006.
The first 50 copies ordered from the label came with a numbered insert, signed by both Edward Ka-Spel and Jesse Peper.
I COULD NOT FIND THE DOORWAY
Ka-Spel’s latest is a labyrinth of hallucinatory hallways in which the exit is frequently obscured by mirages and wrong turns. Half-remembered voices and snippets of forgotten songs lure the unwary ever deeper into the maze, only to be ambushed by unexpected noises and hushed whispers that offer no hope of escape. While it’s true that a certain dream logic does prevail, there are enough structural signposts to keep the album from sinking into a quagmire of befuddlement.
The most obvious of these are the beats that show up on several tracks, like the rusty percussion of “Harvester” or the scraping beats and mechanical rhythm of “Backyard.” Other tracks prominently feature Ka-Spel’s voice, like “The Good Life,” in which he intones that he’s “too tired to sleep,” or “Laughing Gas,” in which he “could not find the doorway,” one of the album’s recurring themes. There are also many noisy passages obfuscating direction, dense sound fields with muted scraps of backwards and cut-up vocals, distortion, snippets of found melodies, engine blasts, and plenty of strange electronics. All of these elements are woven together in collages of incredible texture that serve the album’s rich emotional complexity.
Throughout, Ka-Spel recounts memories of a relationship both good and bad, and the difficulties he faces in balancing these conflicting notions give the album its convoluted shape. When a female voice in “Laughing Gas” asks, “Do you love anyone?/Does anyone love you?” it’s hard to determine if it’s a memory or an accusation. While a streak of melancholy permeates many of these tracks, the aggressively insistent rhythms and noisy blasts give rise to a certain sense of inevitability. Ka-Spel himself says as much in “And the Stars”: “Yet still I walk away towards the light/You see, I had no choice/For life must go on.” The album may not make complete sense to anyone but its creator, but the journey through Ka-Spel’s vast psychological interiors is a dizzyingly exhilarating trip nonetheless.
It’s worth mentioning that the presentation of this disc is a work of art in itself. Not only are Jesse Peper’s bizarre paintings strikingly vivid and alluring, but they’re also printed on the thickest oversized cardstock gatefold I’ve ever encountered. With a foam peg holding the disc in place, this is one of the more unique packages I’ve come across in some time. However, all that would be mere window dressing if the music itself weren’t so captivating. Listening to Ka-Spel’s poignant exploration of ambivalence is a touching and rewarding experience. This album’s easily among the best I’ve heard so far this year and a sure contender to become a personal favorite. – Matthew Amundsen, –Brainwashed