Poltergeists: Week of January 26, 2015

Poltergeists is a biweekly feature in which Michael and Wes share tracks that they have had on repeat over the past two weeks.


Musk Ox - “Part 1 - Earthrise”

I have been incredibly stuck on this track, and album for that matter, recently. I have tried to go to other artists but for some reason this song really fits the foggy lines that winter leaves as it pushes its way through the season. I think that it is romantic and moving to say the very least. I feel the same way about Disemballerina, who are from Portland. The music is so emotionally driven with so few instruments.

Disemballerina - “Sundowning”

Speaking of Disemballerina! “Sundowning” is from their latest album Undertaker, and has a lot of meaning behind it. According to the bandcamp description of the song, “Sundowning” is a form of dementia that is unique to Alzheimer’s patients, and the sample that bookends this song is a cell phone recording of the death rattle of a close friend (a clicking, sometimes gurgling sound often heard in the last few moments of life which is caused by saliva build up in the throat as you begin to lose the ability to swallow). These elements, along with the rise and fall of guitar, viola, and cello, make this song extremely emotional.


Timeghost - “Dissection Theater”

There’s a lot of noise out there that I just can’t dig on. Often, I find noise artists who are squelching some feedback through a delay pedal at uncomfortably high frequencies, and then sitting back and telling me that the point is that I’m not supposed to like it; I’m not supposed to be comfortable.

Timeghost expertly shows these people that discomfort doesn’t have to mean unlistenable. “Dissection Theater” pulls itself along as though it is withdrawing itself from the listener; it builds anticipation before slamming down on gabbed out kicks. It utilizes and, more importantly, harnesses uncomfortable high frequencies to cut through and create moments of tension, while staticky shuffles and a morphing bass do the song’s heavy lifting, accented by errant blips and heavily modulated vocals. Harsh noise artists take note: this is how you use discomfort.

Pharmakon - “Bestial Burden”

This track gets pretty repetitive. That repetition works well to create this weird, almost hypnotic sort of feeling, where you start to feel like you’re being pulled into the song. The vocals start out almost spoken word; they are adorned only by a sort of delay. They quickly fall into a pattern of repetitive talking and screaming that mirrors the repetitiveness of the percussion and bass. Soon, the song loses its lull, its sense of pulling in. The repetition becomes aggressive, and rather than bringing you in, it comes at you; it attacks, and pushes you back. “Bestial Burden” is another great example of how to use discomfort as a tool.