SKIN AREA: JOURNAL NOIR / LITHIUM PATH
2 x CD: Cold Meat Industry CMI150 [2006]
Ltd x 1000

Posthumous
Silverhall
Borderline
A Childish Confession
Blut Und Weintrauben
Journal: Noir
Doll At Play
Spiral Nerve
Choose Art, Not Life

Into Bliss
Elvira
The Vivian Girls
Nostalgia
The Room
Lithium Path Pt. 1
Down The Third Conjunction
Lithium Path Pt. 2

Epic. A word normally associated with film but applicable here to this release. Only instead of a Peter Jackson visual kaleidoscope this is more akin to an Andy Warhol five hour avant-garde production. A double CD release that leaves the listener with more questions than answers. And none the wiser despite repeated plays. The debate to its musical merits will continue for a long time. But will anyone really care in the end? The answer is that you all should. For this labour of love… years in the making… is one of the most challenging and perplexing releases of this, or even for that matter, past and future releases. What Martin Bladh (IRM) and Magnus Lindh, with contributions from Carl Abrahamsson, Anne-Marie Thim and others, has achieved with "Journal Noir / Lithium Path" is the ritual tearing up of the rule book. In comes a visionary alternative music updated for the ‘here and now’. Not, I must add, a reference to that proto hippy punk band of old. Jean-Luc Godard, the ce lluloid equivalent of Skin Area, once said, ‘Art is a gun’. Perhaps if he had heard "Journal Noir / Lithium Path" he would have changed that to ‘Art is a loaded gun ready to waste you away without hesitation or remorse’.

"Journal Noir / Lithium Path" should be regarded as two separate releases. Split into "Red Cross" (Journal Noir 9 tracks) and "Green Cross" ( Lithium Path 8 tracks ) which order you listen to them becomes merely a personal choice and doesn‘t in anyway affect the way the music pans out. Taking their cue from a variety of musical influences, ritual / tribal, drone, jazz, experimental, ambient and avant-garde, the artists have generated a fascinating and elaborate mixing up of the styles so that nothing is what it first appears to be. Bass lines lay down flux grooved lines, guitars drag notes into elongated patterns, electronics produce terrifying noise passages and counter this with simply divine melodies, the percussion pieces hammering out rhythmic patterns and all the while the vocal parts keep the whole sonic adventure together.

The key to "Journal Noir / Lithium Path", the vocals, male and female, range from banshee styled wailing and drones to psychotic surreal tales reminiscent of what John Cale achieved whilst with the Velvet Undergound. Those of you of a certain age may recall a track titled ‘The Gift’ by that band. The stories unfolding here, although not spoken in Welsh, have that same awe struck effect whilst hearing them. And so the music slowly unfolds. Going from utterly chaotic mutilated sonic waves to a more ethereal effects…with more than enough different stop gaps in-between. Hard going it can certainly be…but oh so rewarding when it finally dawns on you that out of the chaos a quiet order has descended and taken over.

"Journal Noir / Lithium Path" is NOT a recording for everyone. It taunts and cajoles. It laughs in your face and you don’t know if the joke is ultimately on you. I would go as far to say that this release is the most difficult recording yet to be found on the CMI roster. Even more impenetrable than anything Roger could conjure up with his Brighter Death Now project. Which in my eyes in a good thing. Fuck normality. Fuck the dull and repetitive dark ambience movement. Life should be lived on the edge. Skin Area will take you there with "Journal Noir / Lithium Path". Dare you accept their invitation to see things differently?


ANM

[Skin Area] / [Cold Meat Industry]

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