Julian Cope’s Album of the Month

To Blacken The Pages - A Semblance of Something Appertaining to Destruction

To Blacken The Pages
A Semblance of Something Appertaining to Destruction

AOTM #104, January 2009ce
Released 2008 on Colony Records
  1. Trek In (11.06)
  2. A Semblance of Something Appertaining to Destruction (14.34)
  3. Trek Out (17.41)

Fellate the Crucified

Way up high in the mysterious mountains of central Crete, arduously accessed only via a precarious single trackway, and located in the higher foothills of legendary Mt Ida - the greatest Cretan mountain of all - the vast Antron (or cave) of Immortal Zeus is an inaccessible pad even for a Greek God, and is said to have been chosen as the birthplace of the greatest Greek God of them all, in order that his jealous father Cronos would not find the baby and kill him. Why do I tell you this? Why, because the colossal reverb that informs the music of To Blacken the Pages is very nearly as mighty as that located inside the Antron of Zeus. It’s a tumbling, tsunami of sound so large and distant that, to our uncomprehending ears, it at first appears to be barely moving… Wrong, this music is slowly sucking up all in its path, like an overly zealous Thor test-driving a vast Soviet-built steam-driven fjord dredger, first on Drives 1 & 2, then on Overdrive, then on Turbo… until … Enough already, it’s time for elevenses; Thor puts down the main attachment and knocks back a wee dram from his high rise-sized hip flask, forgetfully leaving the huge whirring apparatus to its own devices. Still casually set on ‘auto-destruction’, the contraption inhales small but exquisite streams from their rightful places on the steep steep hillside, gulps back a dozen chattering rivulets, thereafter plucking whole swathes of verdant young woodland barely a century old, all swept calamitously from their precarious perches on the steep slopes as the unaware God relaxes, surveying the distant horizon. Enormous bursts of energy followed by brief periods of complete inactivity, that’s the sound of To Blacken The Pages.

The Loneliest Grave

This is true Death Music and it’s good for you, aching music worthy of someone’s funeral and a dead cert to play that role sometime in the future. I enthusiastically recommend you bathe your melted plastic brain in such sonick goo, undertaking the task with a zealot’s thoroughnesse, for the playing of true Death Music unleashes the same psycho-serum as that contained in Joy Division’s songs ‘Dead Souls’ and ‘New Dawn Fades’, the Stooges’ ‘Anne’, the New York Dolls’ “Frankenstein’, The Nefilim’s ‘Wail of Sumer’, Hawkwind’s ‘Assault & Battery’, my own ‘Safesurfer’, ‘Courts or Wars’, Funkadelic’s ‘Maggot Brain’ title track, the tailout on ‘Sleepwalker’s Timeless Bridge’(the WOLF CITY-period Amon Düül 2 Mellotronic masterpiece), and the tailout/afterburn of Roxy Music’s ‘In Every Dream Home a Heartache’, all presenting a colossally dark and infinitely decayed beauty in their Visions of the World, worldviews from the very boundaries of culture; the Inuit Onlooker, the Blakean Visionary looking ‘not with but through the Eye’, the view from the Dead themselves out in the graveyard is apt. Opening track ‘Trek In’ commences with analogue North Wind and the kind of chugging chordal guitar that evoke the image of a spectral Viking Death Ship surging slowly through the low Skagerrak mists. The enormous quarter hour title track follows, commencing with another shrill avalanche of verdant feedback propelled herein by a basic drumbox programme, over which clambers a Titanic chordal bass guitar and vast eternities of K. Levine/J. McGeogh e. guitar, the results of which conspire to cacophonize into pure No Wave, a real Cleveland Smog of a track. The album concludes with the splendid and eerily beautiful Nordic hymn ‘Trek Out’, a nearly 18-minute-long Deathmarch of near-Rallizes Denudés Uber funereal ‘Sally Go Round The Roses’-clodplod, and all in their dub-stylee BLIND BABY-phase, phew! Yes please. A friend on an Aberdeenshire oil rig once recorded the sound of the BP drillbit screaming & riding deep into the Mother Earth, and that same heavenly orchestral collision of the Primordial and the Industrial is exhibited within the vast slownesse of this music by To Blacken the Pages. It's a panoramic overload of emotion, as immense as a visit to a Bronze Age city or a legendary lake, a music that drenches listeners and leaves them ensnared in its clutches and weakened with sonic exhaustion. Yes, this music is comparable in some ways to the enormous sounds unleashes by Nadja, Urthona, Spaceship, and their solitary ilk, but the space and periods of relative inactivity contained within the music of To Blacken The Pages makes this an unearthly noise all its own. Run by Dublin artist and composer Paul McAree, this Lone Wolf Ensemble only emerged at the beginning of last year with their epic debut album NONE, yet already they appear to be almost in full fight. Let’s hope this coming year brings even greater evidence of the fertile mind and Clear Vision of Mr McAree’s trip. And, as its epically barbarian and over-reaching nature has been such a useful to one such as I, so I figured y’all should be clued into the muse and work of this fellow Brother Motherfucker. Right on.


To Blacken The Pages – NONE (Colony Records 2008)