Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 June 2007 18:01
CD Title: Waiting for the Tiller
Label: Parasomnic Records
Reviewer: Matthew Johnson
Hollydrift is what Nurse With Wound might have sounded like had Stephen Stapleton located his farm in Wisconsin instead of Ireland. Working mainly with found sound and old radio transmissions, Mathias Anderson eschews the usual hellish soundscapes and futuristic dystopias to create a surrealistic portrait of the rural Midwest, circa 1950 or so. The chirping crickets and anachronistic computerized voices of “Lakeshore Skycue” evoke abandoned communication towers chattering to themselves among empty wheat fields, while bits of marching bands, chimes, and fragments of guitars waft in from the static on “Dark Is Only Hours Away.” Don’t mistake this for a “Leave It To Beaver” episode, though. You can’t imagine any happy endings for the lost little girl in “Marisa Relay” as we hear her mother frantically calling her name through layers of telephone interference, and on “Haven of Rest” a furnace in an elementary school beckons children to “Join us in the basement.” This is the kind of fear that stays with you longer than any slasher film sample; here Anderson has managed to tap into the folksy weirdness that keeps you awake until dawn after reading a Stephen King story. It’s all perfectly summed up in “Out Among the Night,” in which two layers of gently treated voices sit on a white picket fence, sharing stories of ghost people and ghost machines. It’s post-apocalyptic and antiquated all at once, and like the rest of this album, it pulls a tremendous amount of humanity out of white noise and cast off machinery.