Sabbath Assembly – Restored To One
Like most kids, I learned some of life’s most important lessons by watching movies that weren’t exactly “age-appropriate.” Thanks to power of Showtime, I learned about demonic possession (The Exorcist), the horrors of war (The Big Red One) and the carnal pleasures of the swinging London disco scene (The Bitch) before I was ten. But of all the cinematic masterworks I subjected myself to in pre-pubescence, none was more horrifying than Godspell. Honestly, I remember very little about this film except a gaggle of singing and dancing hippies toting a large, wooden cross through what I imagine was Brooklyn in the early 70s. Horrifying, and more than enough to turn me off church and bell-bottoms for life.
Restored To One (available now on trustworthy occult/black metal label, Ajna) is basically a tribute to the musical experiments of The Process Church of the Final Judgment, a cultish group who split from Scientology in the 60s and used music to spread their visions of Gnostic reconciliation in a time of cataclysmic change. With chapters in London, Europe and across the United States, these boys and girls made a habit of of appearing in public adorned in black cloaks promoting a mashup theology that reconciled Christ and Satan through deeper awareness and love. Apparently, during its heyday in the 60s/70s, The Process Church was visible enough to spawn tell-all accounts, and even Funkadelic co-opted some of the scriptures for their records. And if you’re interested, the remain active, albeit less visible.
Enter Sabbath Assembly, a loose-limb musical collective boasting the contributions of members of JEX, No-Neck Blues Band and Sunn O))). I think how you feel about this record will depend, in least in part, on how you feel about organized religion and “traditional” hymns. Suffice to say, there is an healthy allotment of drone and chanting, sprinkled copiously with referees, veiled and direct, to God and Satan. Sound creepy? You bet it is, and that’s why I’m telling you about it.
People Like Us & Wobbly – Music For The Fire
I know a lot of people who listen to music to relax, but where’s the fun in that? Two For Flinching is all about alerting the most resilient music fans to releases that are a bit more, shall we say, challenging, than what we’re spoon-fed via the airwaves. With that in mind, I’m pleased to bring to your attention a record that approximates many of the signs and symptoms of schizophrenia, Music For The Fire (available June 15th, directly from People Like Us).
PLU is the alias of British artist Vicki Bennett, who is renown for her audio-visual collages, which utilize innovative sampling in conjunction with found and archival footage. Wobbly, her partner in crime, is the alias of American sound sculptor Jon Leidecker, who improvises live with recordings to construct complex pieces from seemingly incongruous scraps of recorded sound. The latest fruit of their collaborative efforts, Music For The Fire, is “plunderphonic concept album” chronicling the life of a relationship through a painstaking process of assembling thousands of sound samples from countless unrelated sources. The result is a postmodern aural mosaic sure to inspire, unnerve and enrage listeners. The beautifully illustrated lyric sheet only adds to the effect, suggesting a seemingly innocuous, yet painfully damaged children’s book. Guaranteed to make the little rats laugh, cry and squirm in their beds, Music For the Fire may be the last bedtime story you’ll ever read.