A Journal Of The Dark Arts
On Island Records, Ernest Gibson plays the role of Virgil, guiding you into Tartarus, where the specters of Lou Reed and Michael Karoli jam in black cavernous spaces. He imagines the Elysian Mysteries, as scored by Brainticket. Vampiric krautrock, spectral dub, greyed rainbow; fans of everybody from The Velvet Underground to Coil to Echoplex will find themselves lost in this mist.
Ernest Gibson’s music is the exact opposite of the cynical HD pop that is immediately obvious and screaming for yr attention. Island Records seduces, compels, hypnotizes, murmurs, drawing you further with thin skeletal fingers. He recreates the feeling of listening to psychedelic records as seance, connecting with the dead, extracting lost wisdom.
Found out about this blurry gem from the latest edition of Julian Cope’s Address Drudion, where he described Island Songs as:
thirteen snatches of crunching ambient tunnels of sound all of which could – to this writer’s mind anyway – have been extended in length twentyfold. Ah, but there’s the rub. For, like Asmus Tietchens’ brilliant BIOTOP and SPAT-EUROPA, Gibson’s genius herein is his determination not to outstay his welcome. Sounding at times like side two of J. Div’s CLOSER as performed by the first 13th Floor Elevators line-up, ISLAND RECORDS defies analysis and just forces you to repeat and repeat this sucker endlessly.
Saw it mentioned again at a rad new blog i’ve just found, Portals, where they speak of haunted field trips and seances, and i was sold, knowing this would fit in perfectly with the grey magick timeless spirit of Forestpunk. Portals described Island Records as:
If there were a physical manifestation of this album, like of the actual music, you’d have to pick it up and blow a thick layer of dust off of it before digging in. It creaks and moans under the weight of the past, and Ernest Gibson wallows in every aged corner of it. Looking to genres like exotica, folk, and maybe even touches of doo-wop, Island Records is an album that is deeply entrenched in musty old tricks and spells of time gone by, but uses that platform as a way of twisting and re-imagining the sounds of the past, assembling them into a completely new form.
Finding this record, and a couple of new worthy blogs, have completely rejuvenated me for the task at hand. It’s free from the grinding machinery of the hype machine; music made by and for people who love music, specifically people who love listening to records. It gets to the heart and soul of psychedelic music, not the surface level, beyond appearances.
Ernest Gibson does not remake krautrock. Rather, he twists and sculpts the endless rhythms, the plodding bass, and injects them with an aura of menace and mystery. The vocals are buried, washed out, and serve to act as incantation, to cast you under it’s spell.
There is an ineffable quality to this music (which every other reviewer has mentioned, as well) that cuts right to the quick of the Forestpunk ethos. Greyed, subjective, blurry, impressionistic; it suggests, rather than proclaims. It murmurs, rather than shouts. Magick exists in the in between spaces, beyond labels. The imagination is an undiscovered continent, a place we will wait for the rest of our lives. In this country, drum patterns and guitar lines are alien flora, inviting you to expect their blossoms and poisonous thorns. This music is alive, even if it is transmitted from the land of the dead.
This is Ernest Gibson’s debut LP, on the Skrot UP label from Denmark. It’s available as an LP, but every record comes with a free download. He also plays as half of Net Shaker, which you can expect to hear more about, as i am utterly possessed by this man’s music. I know a record’s good, when i put off writing about it, because i don’t want the assignment to be over. You can be sure, i will be listening to Island Records long after i’ve removed quill from page, and further investigating Net Shaker and Skrot Up.
Highest possible recommendation for kraut/psych fans, lo-fi freaks, midnight witches, and people of discerning tastes.
Recommended Tracks: When You Get There, When I Translate, In A Daylight Loop, Moon Paean