A horrible hack

Nacht und Nebel - Lumbers

split

Year Released: 2010
Format: CD
Label: self released
 
Reviewed by Captain Fidanza on Dec 21, 2010
Last Monday, someone I have know for several years informed me that if necessary, she would be more than capable of shearing a sheep.

“You're a piece of work,” was my response.

This here CD is a piece of work too and certainly worthy of our attention. As it comes in two parts, I will address them in turn.

The first four tracks are by Nacht und Nebel, a composer who has taken his name from a terrifying incident in 1941 in which Adolf Hitler instructed all opponents of the regime in Nazi occupied territories to be made to vanish into the night and fog. Listening to the music created under this moniker, it could almost be a live recording of one of these forced disappearances taken from a tape recorder concealed inside the pocket of a terrified dissident.

Apparently, all the sounds on the first half of this split CD originate from a cello, although quite what on earth was being done to the cello to get it to make some of the noises here recorded is anyones guess. Either way, I can imagine that the cello in question is currently undergoing some form of therapy to recover from the ordeal. Bending and scraping and burning and melting and welding and scratching and bowming and woolding and mioyring and wmwmwmorrrring and woaroaroaroaroaroaroaroaroaroaoaroaring and all that good stuff.

If you've ever seen Ken Russell's extraordinary film “Altered States” in which William Hurt spends so long inside a series of sensory deprivation tanks that he physically regresses into a monkey, you will be able to imagine the sorts of sounds present on the first half of this record. These are the sounds your brain starts to make when it hasn't seen, heard, smelt, tasted or felt anything at all during fifteen straight hours of floating in a watery void with only the slight reverberation from your heart for company.

The second half of the split begins with the sound of a piano which is strangely comforting after the terrifying sonic barrage of the first half. This is nice, you think, nice, a nice man playing the piano, nothing could be nicer than a nice man playing the piano; he's probably got one of those smart suits on with the bits that hang down at the back, very smart, very sensible, very nice. Then after about twenty seconds the nice man reveals himself to be some terrifying, Lovecraftian demon and starts mumbling in a baritone about some terrifying foreign stuff.

Then acoustic guitar.

Then lilting female voice.

Then a cold wind blows.

Then echoes.

And that's just the first song.

This is not music to listen to should you ever find yourself walking through Victorian London after dark in the fog because it will almost certainly soundtrack your grisly murder. Similarly, should the need to hike through a dense, Norwegian pine forest during late 1940 ever arise, you know it's time to press the eject button on your Sony Walkman, remove the cassette, flip it over and listen to the greatest hits of Katrina and the Waves which you recorded off your sister after she got it for her birthday in 1996.

However, once you've made it through the forest and reached the log cabin where your elderly aunt resides, by all means give her the cassette and ask her to put side one on for you both to listen to whilst you discuss what's to be done about those wretched Nazis.

But be careful, don't talk too loudly, because those rumours your aunt was so quick to scotch about that lumberjack who lives down the lane were actually true. Yes, he's a nationalist, a true nationalist, he only wants what's best for Norway, but unfortunately he thinks German Socialism is what's best for Norway and all your aunt's talk about sticking one up the Krauts got back to him and he's not pleased. He knows which side his bread is buttered on, he knows what's best for Norway and he knows what's best for traitors.

He's out there somewhere in the night.

He's out there somewhere with his axe.

He's...

The knock at the door. The conversation cut short. The nervous glances that follow. The realisation that pretending to be out is futile. The drying of the throat. The shortness of breath. The knowledge that the bell is tolling for you both. The walk to the door. The shaking of the hand. The coldness of the doorknob. The screech as it's turned. The face of the lumberjack. The gleam of the axe. The carnage that follows. The night and the fog.
Recommended record by Collective Zine!

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