Review: St. James Infirmary – An Antic Pause

St. James Infirmary - An Antic PauseSo much is residue. Shadow. By-product. The sound I hear has been refracted until it sheds all resemblance to its source, rendered instead as echoes folded over echoes; light trapped inside itself. The first of these pieces is pure murk. A swamp of low and mid frequency disturbances, with feedback slithering slowly over tectonic fractures. Occasionally, a vivid shape leaps to the fore like a skeleton thrust to the liquid surface via phantom pressure: choir pads slinking nervously through the dark, bells gleaming like sinister realisation, distortion cutting through the mud like lightning. Through such an ambiguous haze, such corporeal and fully-formed objects feel particularly precious. I cling to them as the gunk continues to slip through my fingers and ooze down my back.

Track two feels like a session of confinement and sensory deprivation, save for a fine beam of light that cuts through the ceiling on a diagonal. Strange moans dissipate into immediate delays, while a shimmering high tone cuts through the air in front of me. The experience becomes stranger over time. The hallucinations intensify, mimicking train horns and imaginary animal cries, while a strange rhythm starts to imprint itself on my head as the noise lurches through the same metronomic rhythm over and over again. With both pieces, G.W.Lang acquaints me with the unfamiliar, examining how the mind rewires itself as the alien outstays its welcome. The persistence of An Antic Pause leads me to ingest a strangeness that my body instinctively tries to reject. There’s a wonderful tension in that.