Music Reviews

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Artist: SRMEIXNER (@)
Title: Ten Thousand Ways to Die
Format: CD
Label: Segerhuva (@)
Distributor: Black Rose Recordings
Rated: *****
SRMEIXNER's 'Ten Thousand Ways to Die' draws its inspiration from the old spaghetti westerns that were so bountiful in the 60's and 70's. However, Meixner has chosen to focus on the less obvious elements and themes of these movies, many being borrowed from behind the scenes or the subtle undertones and hidden meanings within the films, though there are certainly moments when you don't have to be as well versed in their subculture to pick up on their influence. The opening piece entitled 'Something to Do With Death' spends more than two minutes teasing the listener with brief fade-ins of the buzzing of flies separated with awkward silence. The wait is paid off when more field recordings of insects and animals and darkness and night begin to layer in, really transporting you to the desert, under a pale, moonlit night where the echoes of the wild begin to ring in your head until maddening, deafening; until you're certain you may just be eaten alive and picked clean. The piece continues to evolve out of this with some more quiet ambience and manipulated dialogue samples. The record progresses through 6 songs full of field recordings, audio manipulations, drones and the occasional lone melody. 'Once Upon a Time, The Revolution' invokes a brief foray into darkness with its tense, dramatic layers which eventually melt away into an ambience broken only by more modified dialogue samples, which are quite effective. 'Too Much Gold is Bad For Your Health' opens into a pretty little melody almost baroque in nature, giving fast way to light ambience. Parts of this piece have such openness that they leave the listener little to invest in, but don't get me wrong, what DOES exist in these spaces is both light and beautiful. 'I Am Your Pallbearer' is both one of the more sinister pieces herein and also one of the few obvious references to the theme with some mean harmonica work which makes you think of hopping open train cars full of straw and drifters. Beneath that comes and goes, among other things, some very fitting Native American samples. The entire album has a rather seamless flow and is a good, solid listen from start to finish with plenty highs and just a few lows. Not to mention being the last release on the Swedish label Segerhuva, 'Ten Thousand Ways to Die' has not only a fitting title, but I think is a great swan song for the label.



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