Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Number eight: Xela "The dead sea"

Maybe it was all the Zombie talk over on Bad Zero and various long forgotten early-to-late-teen afternoons spent watching Fulci, the Bavas, Jess Franco, Michael Soavi, Uli Lommell and Argento movies surfacing again, but somehow Xela’s tinny, scuzzy, bedroom power-electronics take on the themes from “Halloween” and, most amazingly, Goblin’s main theme from “Suspiria” seemed particularly timely, as did his Zombie-concept album “The Dead Sea.”

Not only that, of course. Reader, have you ever been in the position where you like a record but wish it were somehow different or that there were several similar records that took it as an aesthetic/conceptual starting point and then went in different directions? The Impostume certainly has (actually this applies to almost everything I listen to) especially when it comes to the really great but somehow finally slightly underachieved “Salt Marie Celeste" by perennial Impostume faves, “Nurse with wound.” “The Dead Sea,” looked like it could be just such wish-fulfilment business.

Which it wasn’t, but somehow it grabbed me anyway after a while, for reasons of its own. It should of course be pointed out that while “The Dead Sea” might well have aspired to being a kind of soundtrack-to-a-Fulci-movie-that-never-existed it was somewhat hamstrung by its limited production values. It doesn’t sound especially cinematic, I mean it doesn’t have any scope, there are no vast distances here, great empty miles of torn and humid seascape or towering walls of water, no descents into the Maelstrom*, no looming behemoths. It all sounds very shorebound, home made, very up-close, there’s bits of guitar, some sea shanty style jauntiness backed by clanking percussion, the squelching of jellyfish against a barnacled hull, the sound of sodden footsteps, ripe with putrefaction, the whole thing liberally swabbed down with a good bucketful of scratchy electronics. It’s not even faintly sinister really, and yet somehow over the past couple of months or so I kept sticking it on. Actually what it is frankly, is endearing and slightly inept. Something you applaud more for its ambition than its execution and that somehow slips into your affections because of what it is rather than what it does (nebulous enough for you?)

Should you get it? Yes of course. Make him rich! This man’s ambition and talent need Cinemascope, not Super-Eight!

* What’s with “The Perfect Storm”? I have vague memories of it as a brilliant film about the nightmarish, utterly alien dimensions of the sea being rather spoiled by the presence of Marky Mark. Horrible ending too as I recall, the last lone figure, a tiny speck lost in the great basalt canyons and valleys. Shudder. I must watch that again.

1 comment:

Biggie Samuels said...

I know a lot of people hated this film but I'm going to say it anyway: Marky Mark was fucking great in "I Heart Huckabees".

Seriously. I liked it!