Lords of Howling, Jacob swerves delight (Discobolus)

I remember reading once about a psychology experiment in which subjects were given spectacles with inverting prisms for lenses. The researchers were interested in two things: (1) the amount of disorientation experienced as a result of seeing everything upside down, and (2) how quickly a person can accomodate the change in visual information their brain is receiving.

I don't recall what results were published, but I do know that should a similar experiment ever be proposed for hearing, I have a perfect aural prism: Jacob swerves delight by the Lords of Howling, release number 9 on Discobolus records of Questa, MN. It's a chameleon of a tape, on first listen an untidy patchwork blanket of discordant and amelodic squares, all angular corners and disjoint edges with holes where the pieces don't fit together. But by the third or fourth listen, as your ears begin to get used to the fact that they've got to make some sense of the sound, that tatty old blanket dissolves and reforms as a beautifully embroidered silken wall-hanging. The garish mess of random sounds resolves into country-melancholy, a pattern develops where previously there was only disorder.

I can't give you any song titles, as there don't appear to be any. But that's OK, the tape is best listened to as a whole deal. I've heard it end to end several times this weekend as I drove home and back and have been amazed at the sounds that keep jumping out at me. Sounds that weren't there last time I listened.

If I haven't used many adjectives to describe the music in this review, that's because it's so hard to describe music that constantly changes...hold on, I've got one: glorious.

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