MORRISNERI is a combination of Jen Morris and guitarist Stéphane Neri. Their recent release Cathedral Tapes on deadvox is the result of many months of “marrying field recordings, guitar and live sessions using the cathedral as a studio and as an instrument in and of itself.” There are a couple of albums out there that freak me out. Last Year Haxan Cloak did it with Excavation. More recently Bestial Burden gave me the willies and now Cathedral Tapes by MORRISNERI.
It doesn't freak me out with abrupt noises and jarring sounds that would give me the same visceral reaction if a dude with a chainsaw jumped out at me in a haunted house. The sounds evoke feelings of being lost in a void. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, the assumption that all that is happening is happening only once, and then never again, and what occurs once might as well never have happened at all comes to mind. Neri and Morris create sounds that are haunting and evoke ghost-like imagery. As if the souls in the cathedral never left the cycle of life.
The first song “Pipe” bends and sways lightly in the wind. Desolate sounds reverberate and descend as a feeling of discontent fills the air. The sounds slowly dissipate as the track comes to a close. ”Electric Pear” starts off sounding like you are in the 13th level of hell going down a vast chasm. The atmospheric soundscape evolves into harsh, dissonant space where chains crackle and light melts.
There is no relief to be found on “Lamentation Cantina.” The textures and dissonance has similarities to “Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima” by Krzysztof Penderecki. “Ronaoke” is the fourteen-minute centerpiece and also the most haunting. You can feel the ghosts in the room. They close with “Ugly Knots,” which is no step toward the light. It evokes imagery of tortured souls held down by chains. The crackling of iron adds to the ominous feeling underneath your skin.
You will need some thick skin to fully appreciate Cathedral Tapes. It’s not something you are going to listen to with your girlfriends before doing a shot and talking about your husbands. It’s not something you are going to pop in with your two young toddlers in the back of the car and I certainly don’t think it’s going to be playing at any social gathering such as book clubs, Alcoholics Anonymous or speed dating. So when is the best time? Probably by yourself while sacrificing a goat. That being said, if you aren't in to sacrificing goats, which is totally cool by me just being alone will suffice.
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