Sad Hill Media

Film & Lesser Arts with Will Ross, Devan Scott, & Daniel Jeffery.

by Will Ross

Some albums just aren't fun to listen to.

The most terrifying music I have ever heard is Nurse with Wound's Homotopy to Marie, a record that is impossible to play socially but produces profound discomfort and fear when played alone. But that album is more an assault than a journey, and no album takes me to a darker place than Spiderland, Slint's second effort.

The album's cusped guitars, precise drumming, slow skulking bass along with half-spoken, half-sung narrative lyrics take the listener from place to place, always looking out at the world from a lone human's perspective. The word "Soundscape" is overused, but here's music I can confidently attach it to with all its implications.

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That's not to say Spiderland is lush. It's a deeply personal, dark album. The shifting time signatures, unconventional arrangements, and completely undanceable rhythms are widely credited as jump-starting the vague "post-rock" movement, but if Spiderland is a distinct progenitor, it discredits post-rock as a categorization, since nothing else labeled as "post-rock" sounds remotely like it. Let's be honest with ourselves: This is a grunge album.

There is no more appropriately titled album than Spiderland. Even as each track conjures landscapes, they creep - and creep, and creep, and creep, always drawing closer, always threatening but never consuming until the phenomenal climax of the last track, "Good Morning Captain". The three words of the album's final, primal yell are the casting off of the spiders, and they seem to explain every moment of angst, loneliness, and uncertainty of the previous 39 minutes by their simplicity and conviction.


Anonymous said...

I've listened...and I spiders crawling toward you and then all of the sudden being conscious of their intent!

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