This September release from Hellscape Records comes with instructions: “It’s meant to straddle the line between self-help and guided meditation. It contains both peace and turmoil, as can be expected when attempting to bring forward the subconscious mind. We hope you understand that its purpose is greater than a mere collection of tunes or loops or words.”
That greater purpose can be enjoyed as a digital download or “Karmically Balanced Cassette (Rare).”
After repeated listens, I can confirm the presence of self-help and guided meditation elements. My subconscious mind however remains firmly situated in the background where it belongs.
That all said, Experience Self-Healing is an entertaining half hour. Musically, it zigs and zags with decisive creativity. It will remind older listeners of some of the great industrial music of the 1980s (the non-dance club variety to be sure).
That’s all Snakepiss’ work. The Detroit artist has a penchant for found sounds and what he calls “imaginary horror soundtracks.” The electronics drone and bash like an early 20th-century factory floor.
Harvey Day’s contribution begins with a guru-like figure instructing us to “breathe deeply and relax completely.” This is in no way relaxing. Day manipulates the voice, extending the vowels like a Max Headroom character.
Later we hear from a group of well-lubricated friends at a cocktail party that sounds like it was recorded sometime between 1962 and 1978. They’re gathered around the tape deck trying to figure out if it’s on or not.
Another of Day’s highlights features a young pastor. “If we want to see revolution reach every part of our culture and we’re not there, how’s it going to get there,” he asks. “If we’re not there, in the businesses, in the media, in the schools, who’s going to bring it. We talk about revolution so much and I’m afraid it’s going to lose its power. It’s almost like we use words so often that they become meaningless in our eyes. Revival, people don’t use the word anymore. Because it’s been used so much and no-one’s actually seeing anything behind it. They’re almost sick of it. And I’ll be honest, I’m getting there myself. Because I don’t want to see God come and go. I don’t want to see the church touched and the homeless on the street see nothing happen.”
Spoken word passages featuring religious leaders are hardly novel. But this is different. This one stands out because of the pastor’s calm delivery and earnest message. We hear him talk about revival and it prepares us to dismiss him. Then he surprises us with that note about the homeless and it is completely disorienting.
Which may be the best way to describe the full work. Day immediately switches to a woman reading a fortune. Just as abruptly, Snakepiss executes another of the many musical shifts underneath her.
These changes are hardly meditative. But they are completely absorbing, and great fun.
A final word from the lawyers: “Hellscape Recordings is not responsible for any portals, gateways or other supernatural phenomena that may occur while listening to this release. It is up to the listener to ensure they are protected and free from hauntings, cryptid infestation, government surveillance, abnormal bowel movements, extraterrestrial mind control, any and all active curses, etc.”