Music Reviews

Artist: Caustic Reverie (@)
Title: Here and Away
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Sound engineer, composer, and author Bryn Schurman presents "Here and Away," his 20th offering under the moniker Caustic Reverie. The album contains Schurman’s full soundtrack for the eponymous 10-minute film by Abby Sirwatka, along with newer material. Combining synthesizers and guitar elements, the music proceeds at a metaphysical level, jumping from soul to soul across poetic space.

“Night Trip” sets a tone of contradictory nostalgia, as alluring as it is frightening. Imagine a recurring nightmare you haven’t had since you were a child yet which now pricks at your desire to see it with waking eyes. This is the ouroboros whose songs are documented herein. “Ordered and Filed,” on the other hand, is cloaked in a honeycombed past. With the post-apocalyptic contours of a Tarkovsky wasteland, Schurman manifests the body’s internal mechanisms as destitutions made anthemic by the caress of a distant sun. Titles such as this and “Composition Book” hint at an underlying philosophy of memory, through which re-creation serves as clearest discourse. Every new turn lances awareness with wasted actions, culminating in the blind spot that is “Family Gathering” before the “End Credits” recede in farewell.

Despite a certain visceral punch, however, the abruptness with which these tracks end is a minor flaw. “Composition Book” and “Family Gathering” particularly suffer from this jarring effect, snapping our ears from the spell of their galactic challenges to fate. This may be a consequence of the film itself, however, given the more patient mixing of Schurman’s seven titled “Reconstructions” that flesh out this album’s bulk. In these he reveals deeper relationships between characters whose names are unknown to us. Drawn-out sighs, distorted chords, and stretches of abandoned houses share cavernous fellowship. Blushes of choir in “Reconstruction 4” even point to quasi-spiritual conflicts, even if the central mood is agnostic at best, while “Reconstruction 6” confronts the horrors of domesticity until once-unresolvable feelings become weightless.

In light of these darknesses, it may come as no surprise that the source film tells of two siblings whose lives are changed when they uncover a secret hidden by their parents. With or without such knowledge, the experience will be familiar to fans of The Caretaker, for one likewise emerges from its silvery dip with something forgotten in hand, amplified until it screams.

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