‘Your Fate Twisting, Epic in its Crushing Moments’, the latest release from mysterious one-man-band A Death Cinematic comes in some of the most impressive packaging we’ve seen in some time.
Completely hand-made by the man himself through his own Simple Box Construction company, the care that has gone into the packaging is charming and interesting – extras include some water slide decal skulls and a unique piece of Japanese kozo paper with a poem to accompany one of the tracks. Limited to 50 copies one can’t fault the effort but it’s a shame that not quite as much attention was given to the music on the CD.
Title track ‘Your Fate Twisting, Epic in its Crushing Moments’ is twenty-two minutes of guitar improvisation based around the same progression of notes with very little in the way of variation. Unlike the title of the song there are no twists, except at the eight minute mark when I thought the song had changed gear completely with some strummed guitars. But false alarm! It was the music player on the Simple Box Construction website – another song had started playing automatically. Back to the song at hand, and not much has changed and although the crushing repetition does evoke a pleasant and familiar sense of melancholic inertia, it doesn’t really need to drag on for quite so long.
‘In the Tumbling Dawn Light, Their Eyes Fall Frozen Through the Mist and Rain’ is brief, comparatively, at only nine and a half minutes long, and is altogether more measured than the title track and fares far better for it. There is still a loose feel to the whole affair but there seems to be less improvisation going on as layers of clean guitar wash atop one another before disappearing. One must assume that A Death Cinematic name their songs after the moods that they create because the song is evocative of mist and rain. The accompanying poem also lends the song poignancy as it contains the line “a man at the gallows / a man at the gates of the abyss.” It’s refreshing to see a musician indulging in a spot of multimedia artwork but at times it seems like A Death Cinematic are more interested in producing a soundtrack for the packaging that they’ve created than they are in the music itself.
It would be easy to label this release as post-rock because it does share many characteristics with the genre: sprawling, ambient instrumental music; use of digital effects and loops; melancholy moods; long, cumbersome track titles. But the music also strikes us as having a close affiliation with jazz, perhaps in the spirit of improvisation and impressionism that the songs clearly embrace. There are also hints of wilful, trying artists like Vincent Gallo, a link that is made by A Death Cinematic being as brilliant as they are frustrating. Unfortunately, on this release the impressive packaging overshadows the music that it holds. You would have to be in the right mood – or stoned – to listen to it for the entirety of its thirty-minute or so duration without getting bored or hoping for some diversion like the one I accidentally encountered during the title track. The music here is enigmatic like the artist that created it but like the artist that created it the music is also anonymous, and lacks personality. Still, bloody nice packaging…
Scribed by: Tom McKibbin