Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Attrition — All Mine Enemys Whispers: The Story of Mary Ann Cotton
(Projekt 209, 2008, CD)
by K. Leimer, Published 2008-10-01There is a persistent case to be made for metaphoric musics deriving from literary sources, even as such practice now belongs more and more to the tattered remnants of the Romantic era. Dark ambient itself seems a category designation pointing not to the music, but to the attitude behind the music, making the distinction a fairly subjective one. This set clearly qualifies on those terms, as All mine enemys whispers (paranoia from Psalm 41:7) draws its inspiration from The Story of Mary Ann Cotton, one of England’s more prolific and profligate serial killers. Attrition is comprised of Martin Bowes, responsible for all electronics and the Sewing Box, and members of Stromkern, High Blue Star and Rasputina contributing violins and vocals. (First 1,000 copies include replicas of Victorian Era Poison Bottle Labels – amuse your friends!) The result is a moody atmospheric suspension decorated with sparse piano phrases, sparse violin phrases and some appropriately Lady June-like vocalizations, at turns hysteric or operatic. Given the subject matter, the music does the requisite accretive job, building up slowly like poison in the blood. But the “concept” here seems needlessly burdensome. Side-by-side comparisons with the work of Death Ambient, for example, play out favorably enough. Still, the aesthetic underpinnings of Death Ambient’s work are clearly preoccupied with music as music, while Attrition somehow means to weld a 21st Century aesthetic to some Victorian sensibility dwelling “inside the mind” of a serial killer. That’s asking a lot of a string of notes, sustenuto or not.
Related artist(s): Attrition
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