Strange Keys to Untune Gods’ Firmament
RIYL =Yellow Swans, Kevin Drumm, Millipede
The album title sums it up quite beautifully, actually. This double disc Skullflower outing offers just that, strange keys melted into the sky, contorting divinity into some alternate realm of existence, some abstract blackness that, though dark and menacing, finds beauty that only a deity can. Of course, this isn’t a wholly new idea from the likes of Matthew Bower, the long time noisesmith. Even so, Strange Keys is all-consuming and absolutely enthralling. Bower, through his various pseudonyms and collaborations, over the course of his historied and expansive career, has obviously learned a thing or two about the disintegration of sound at high volumes. Strange Keys offers just that, the meticulous corruption of a guitar and all its inherently noisy textures, through mountains of pedals and rows of clenched teeth. It can be suitably considered harsh. However, Bower knows that harshness alone won’t cut it, that there is a necessity of some deep rooted beauty. Or perhaps I’m just demented enough to hear such a thing when listening to Strange Keys. I imagine that it is only a small few of us who agree on this. Still, for those with internal wiring eccentric enough to endure this kind of thing, walls of sound thicker than a mile wide moat of decaying corpses, it is indeed beautiful. I’ve read complaints or puzzlement over the need for two discs on a release like this. One that, despite the recognizable variations from one track to another, is essentially a body of like-minded textures that travel to the same destination. It puzzles me, at least slightly. If you don’t feel the need to rummage through both discs, don’t. I for one find more in this circumstance, is more. Strange Keys to Untune Gods’ Firmament is definitely a pillar of an already astounding year in terms of its offerings in experimental and noise music.