This three-track 81-minute-long album is the result of a collaboration between Christian Molenaar from San Diego’s intense free-jazz/noise collective Those Darn Gnomes and David Brenner of New York’s experimental Gridfailure. Although I haven’t previously come across the former, I have been incredibly intrigued by the work of Brenner since I discovered Gridfailure a few years ago, and while it certainly won’t be to everyone’s liking I have found his releases indispensable. His style of experimentation is something I find incredibly drawn to, and here working with someone else he has taken his music in yet another direction.
I first became aware of Brenner when I started working with his PR company, so perhaps it is not surprising that the release for this album is incredibly poignant and accurate. I actually cannot put it better myself, so perhaps I should just quote it. “The medieval wheel of pestilence broken in three: the trigeminal pestis lemniscus, communicating pain, heat and feeling from the eyes, the face and the mucous membranes. Epithelial noise piled high atop a lamina propria of re-appropriated cult noumena, riddled with the stab wounds of infinite lacerating rete pegs and micro-papal papillae. Encased in the acoustic gingiva of Gothic organum and perforated by spires of extra-liminal electroacoustics, a foundational layer of pious hierophants and haruspices scream down the moon. Infusing vocals, electric/acoustic/bass/pedal steel guitars, keyboards, synthesizers, organs, xylophone, harmonica, 1970s cult field recordings, re-synthesis, tape manipulation, contact mic and power electronics effects, and other instrumentation tactics embodied in a vaporous haze, the three lumbering movements range between twenty and thirty-five minutes in length. All said, ‘Uninvited Savior’ suspends the listener within its abyssal vacuum for more than eighty-one minutes.
“Suspension” is a great word in this context, as time really does stop, and the listener is transported into a world which is dark and very different indeed. I often find myself thinking of being in a post-apocalyptic landscape, and that is again very true here. There are deep and dark notes which make me think of a foghorn crying out a warning, yet against that there is a distant melody which makes me think of a fairground luring unwary children to a doom they can never imagine. This is music designed for headphones as one really does need to shut away any extraneous stimuli and instead be taken into a world of Brenner & Molenaar where we can be thankful we are visitors and do not have to stay in that dank and dismal place forever. Not for the fainthearted, this is yet another Brenner release I have found fascinating and compelling, and now I find myself looking to see what Molenaar has also been doing as I feel I need to know. Music which is pushing the very boundaries of the definition.
8/10 Kev Rowland