EthelScull is the project of Atlanta, Georgia experimental artist and composer Amelia Peel, who seems to draw her inspiration from the moody ethereal work of bands like Faith And Disease as well as psychedelic guitar drone projects like Windy And Carl. This special CD-R release is built primarily out of layered guitars, languidly strummed and soaked in reverb and sustain, with Peel's mournful vocals coming from miles away, muffled by studio fuzz and drenched in echoes. "The Distance" comes closest to a conventional song structure, with slow, simple notes harmonizing with more intricate finger-picking, and "Life-String" is a bit like an old country blues song as heard through the haze of sedatives. Other pieces are more esoteric, with "You Chose To" incorporating back-masked conversations with more eerie guitar work and "What Remains" adding a slow, trudging percussive beat. Peel's incorporation of unusual harmonies and gentle dissonance makes this disturbing in a more subtle way than many dark experimental artists can achieve. "Made Up My Mind" and "Fixation On Symptoms," for example, seem at first like standard minimal ethereal pieces, but there's a sense of disquiet that's hard to put your finger on. Notes and chords seem to be off by just a fraction, not enough to sound out of tune but enough that minor key progressions that should sound familiar take on a more unfamiliar, almost sinister aura. EthelScull's work is profoundly unsettling, and comes highly recommended to fans of the weird.
More information on EthelScull and Amelia Peel is available online at www.angelfire.com/mi3/melancholia/index.html.
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