Sheol, by Spleen and Migman

I’m sure it sounds like the end of the world when Dave Migman orders a cup of coffee. I don’t know him in the real world, only via the internet and, so it’s possible that he sometimes sounds like a mild mannered human being. I have doubts, though. I think doom is always impending in Scotland, just an offshoot of the cuisine or climate.

Migman has been working in collaboration with Spleen Erebus to create a beautifully disturbing album called Sheol. Here we have a sampling of the album Dave and Spleen have put together:

Dave’s writing always has that blood and sinew quality of Dylan Thomas or, say, Ted Hughes’ Crow (Hugh MacDiarmid also comes to mind, though it’s been twenty years since I’ve read any of his work and my impression could be faulty)—deep and mythic, mysterious, lit as much by firelight as sunlight. There are forces of nature at work and humanity is as much victim as power within this world.

Spleen Erebus is from Vojvodina, Serbia. I’ve heard little of his work beyond his collaborations with Dave. His world is also lit by a different light source, casting richly moving shadows. In his own words, “Spleen is musick coming from the most secret and dark part of our soul that cannot be seen with the eyes – our primal nature!”

As much as I like Sheol for itself, and I find it deeply moving, I also appreciate it as an indication of the type of art I so desperately want to hear more of: poetry and sound combined as serious art. It isn’t dance music or pop. That is, it isn’t hip hop. This work is a descendent of European art music, such as the tone poem, and cinema and epic poetry.

It isn’t necessary to read along while listening but when you buy the album a PDF with the text is included. I hope to have the words in front of me during at least one of my many future playings of this magnificent recording.

You might find it odd that something this seemingly gloomy gives me so much pleasure. It does. I am ecstatic.

Categories: Here and now | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

About swampmessiah

Real name, Michael Myshack. I was born in 1957 (pre-Sputnik), graduated high school in 1975, and then slowly began coming to life. I am self-taught in the arts as well as most other things: drawing and babbling since a very early age; started painting seriously in 1975; began writing shortly thereafter, but began writing in earnest circa 1977 (beginning with poetry); first started recording poems and music and other sounds in 1996. Other than an individual showing of drawings at the Tweed Museum at the University of Minnesota Duluth in 1983 and being an instigator and participant of a group exhibit of drawing at the Duluth Art Institute in 1985, I have no professional or academic pedigree. In other words, I have a day job. I've been with someone since 1985. Our children were born in 1991 and 1996.

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