Brian Evenson w/ Xingu Hill + Tamarin :: Altmann’s Tongue (Ant-Zen, CD)

1163 image 1(11.17.05) Creepy, creepy and creepy. Ant-Zen wandered off into the desert wasteland and found a muttering prophet of the prairie. The madman of the waste (Brian Evenson) was brought back to the civilized world and put in a studio where he poured his invective out into a studio mic, layering spools of tape with his obscene and phantasmagoric tales. These spoken word visions are layered over fearsome industrial stirrings crafted in collaboration by Xingu Hill and Tamarin. Altmann’s Tongue is a fever vision of spoken word bombast over apocalyptic soundscapes.

Four stories of Evenson’s are put to music here — “Calling the Hour,” “Prairie,” “Altmann’s Tongue,” and the feverish twenty-two minutes of “A Slow Death: Prancing/The Underground Karst/On The Wall.” Xingu
Hill and Tamarin, upon hearing Everson’s empassioned readings, took three years to build soundtracks which would properly augment the music — truly collaborative sounds which would feed upon one another.
As Everson reads, the music sneaks arond you — whispering in your ear canal, tonguing your earlobes — and the real world vanishes into prairies of dark mist replete with the tape-loop groan of summoned spirits, the psychotic chatter of zombie desert rats and the howling restraint of a madman’s oratory.

I’m inclined to quote sections from the work to you, but can’t decide on a few lines because they are all redolent with decay and surreal imagery. Everson’s world reminds me of the work of Cormac McCarthy and Robert Coover but with more skin-crawling terror. This is not meant for home listening on headphones when you are alone. No, not by yourself. Or at least not without all the lights on. Stunning work.

Altmann’s Tongue is out now on Ant-Zen.

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