Nearly a year in the making and including a cast of 30 musicians, J.R. Robinson delivers his towering third album as WREKMEISTER HARMONIES entitled Night Of Your Ascension. As with previous records, the ensemble is made up of an all-star cast of talented musicians which include Lee Buford and Chip King of The Body, Alexander Hacke (Einsturzende Neubauten), Marissa Nadler, Cooper Crain (Cave, Bitchin Bajas), Mary Lattimore, Olivia Block, Eric Chaleff (Bloodiest), Dylan O’Toole and Ron DeFries of Indian, Bruce Lamont (Corrections House), Sanford Parker (Twilight), Mark Solotroff (Anatomy Of Habit) and Chris Brokaw (Come, Pullman).
Robinson has long been fascinated with those whose habits or actions have set them beyond the reach of redemption. He continues to explore humanity’s darkest impulses and society’s response to them. The death of Father John Goeghan and the life of Don Carlo Gesualdo were starting points for the two epic compositions on Night Of Your Ascension.
The title track, Night Of Your Ascension featuring the haunting vocal talents of Marissa Nadler, was as much influenced by Don Carlo Gesualdo’s horrific act as it was by the extreme nature of his compositions. There are many that have been inspired by Gesualdo’s imaginative and complex works, from Werner Herzog to Igor Stravinsky. All were perhaps drawn to the unanswerable question whether or not the violence of his life was related to the violence of his music. Robinson, while intrigued by that question, focuses on evoking the extreme nature of Gesualdo’s act while using the man’s music as a vehicle. The resulting composition is compelling, and the hopes are that we ask why such horror is so captivating to the collective mindset.
Run Priest Run traces the death of Father John Geoghan, a priest convicted of child sex crimes who was violently executed by an inmate whilst in solitary confinement. The piece opens in a cold, dank space, evocative of the cell where the violent scene happened. As rumbling bass and brooding drums usher our killer into the frame (the hair raising shrieks of The Body’s Chip King), the track takes us into the depth of horror of that cell and the minds of those within it.
J.R. Robinson has long been pre-occupied with society’s unwanted, observing the horror of their acts while trying to identify with their conflict. Night Of Your Ascension is a commentary on our own fascination with blood lust and our seemingly insatiable appetite for lurid depictions of depravity. The music on this record is as hauntingly beautiful as it is brutal, the questions it provokes are weighty.
Watch the album trailer for Night Of Your Ascension below:
Night Of Your Ascension will be released on CD, LP and Digital Download via Thrill Jockey Records on 13th November 2015.
Photo Credit: Katie Hovland