Say what you will about Post-apocalyptic movies (and stories!), from 'The Post' to 'I am legend', it is a picture, whether good or bad, about how a small friction in our systems wipe us all out and sets the ground, scorched as it may be, for a new set of rules. One of my favorite stories of this kind is "28 Days After". It's not such a good movie, but it shows how we got ourselves dead and the now barren urban fields where we used to run and play. The fact that monkeys, who brought us to life, in a way, are now bringing our demise is poetic and clearly justified in the eyes of any person who opposes the hideous tortures that these monkeys went through. Of course many would think nothing that bad had happened prior to the swift and fatal pandemic but in the end this is all well in the eyes of the beholder.
The cover of "Grace", Mandible chatter's 2008 reissue of the 1993 album, shows an old painting, or mosaic, of a praying person. Time has had its talons on this painting, erasing his eye and reminding me of my visit and discovery of another old painting, this time of Jesus Christ, on the ceiling of a half-bombed church in Berlin. That painting was ruined as well, this time by man made bombs, with a long black crack in the ceiling that went through the eyes as well, serving another poetic attempt to let us question our blindness in wars.
Such blindness is also shown in a poetic way on "Nevermind the credits, start the dream", which suggests a rather cinematic angle to this album. Traditional, Fair-like music that sounds blurred and a little out of tune is interrupted by horrific monkey shrieks, the echoes of which suggests an underground origin like a cave (or a prison?). This sudden, but brief interruption ends with a charming, melodic tune that, more than making us enjoy it (and it is highly enjoyable!), make us question ourselves. Did we really hear these horrid, tortured monkeys just few seconds ago? Nevermind that. The dream is starting.
Low drones that opens the second track, appropriately named "The silent presence" are bringing back the mood and orientation towards the dark, or to be more accurate, the "underground", as opposed to the gentle opening. At times, the drones sound like throat singing and this feeling of skipping between the organic and the mechanic grows stronger when "Piper in the woods", which continues when the previous track ended, raises tribal percussion with tense atmosphere. At this point it is already clear that this is no sweet dream we are in. Next track offers much more experimentalism and abstract compositions that begins almost unnoticeable and grow on momentum until they become a blast of mayhem hundreds of different sounds, all arguing with each other and then fading away.
"Grace" is an album full packed with blinding surprises and mysterious sound results. All four elements in track number five are magical and organic even when they are clearly looped. The various sounds and compositions, from what we heard up until now, to the door closing in on "Sleepless night #37", thus ending the creepiness and letting another lovely melody in "Forty mile lullaby" take in, all of these are not as dark as they are simply Surreal. Trying to take one step further with each track and breaking down always so that the next chapter will do better, "Grace" moves forward to the end. The title track which is dreamy and hypnotic, carrying us out of the dream in such a peaceful manner that we might question ourselves again whether there was any moment on this album that was'nt as pleasant as this one. That's how we are. We have short memory and we tend to forget any past unpleasantness once we feel good again. The dream ends to silence and we wake up after few seconds of stillness to the sound of changing radio channels. Hearing the different speeches and conversations, we might come to think, again, that what ever we think we heard before was not real.
There are no monkeys. Yielding to our short memory and extreme confidence in the convenient. That's the point when the radio, the creature of our creation, is revealing to us the last sentence, in the last second of the album, saying that this is all about the alleged time of our self annihilation. A pretty disturbing statement, again, about our blindness. So it appears that the monkeys do exist after all!
"Incorporating the conventional instrumentation of the acoustic guitar along with several other classical instrument in conjuncture with ambient sound washes and more modern apparatuses of musical construction Mandible Chatter harvest a unique musical style from the roots of multiple musical types. The outcome of this particular chosen music clique range from very mellow guitar pieces, hauntingly beautiful soundscapes encompassing the listening veil to spelunking into the depths of apparition of the human soul. The juxtaposition of modern versus classical style harmonize at a level of almost utter perfection. Assuredly an aural experience that would delight a extremely broad listening audience." -sonic boom
|1||Nevermind the Credits, Start the Dream || || |
|2||The Silent Presence || || |
|3||Piper in the Woods || || |
|4||Beyond the Valley of Blue Rosebuds || || |
|5||The Elements || || |
|6||Sleepless Night #37 || || |
|7||Forty Mile Lullaby || || |
|8||Night of Falling Trees || || |
|9||Grace || || |