Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Cassette Review: Skittish Arm "Fragments"

[$5 // Edition of 50 //]

There are a number of great words that define "skittish".   Nervous.  Anxious.  On edge.   Jumpy.  Jittery.   High-strung.   But when it refers specifically to a person (as I usually think of cats as being skittish for whatever reason) it can mean "playfully frivolous or unpredictable", which is something I didn't really know before looking it up but was rather excited to find out.  I guess I really just kind of enjoy anything that relates to being unpredictable.

The music of Skittish Arm has a haunting feel to it overall and in that way it is somewhat unpredictable.   You're not really sure what to expect, but sometimes when I'm listening to it I feel like if someone knocked on my door I might get startled.  (Though luckily for me, it is impossible for someone to knock on my door, for various reasons)    Side A has ambient synth whirrs that mix with whale sounding tones.    It's kind of like the Illegal Wiretaps, there are skips and then it gets windy as well.  Again, this is all done in a haunting backdrop.

On Side B we have ringing electric guitar notes, a small swarm of bees communicating with each other and then somewhere between the P.O.D. "Youth of a Nation" undertones mixed with FNL.  (For the record, I don't really enjoy P.O.D. or their song "Youth of a Nation", but the fact that the specific sound in it often times becomes a reference point for me is acceptable in that the rest of this cassette doesn't sound like P.O.D.)    At the end, bells start ringing and it kind of sounds like church which is strange since it's got that edge to it.

While it would be easy enough to conclude that Side A has to do with death and what happens afterwards and that Side B could be the funeral (inside a church) or something otherwise to do with religion and the afterlife, I like to think of this as something more than just that.   I feel like this has the qualities that begin as a horror movie and end in a church, yet somehow the church is a worse place to wind up in than wherever this story may have started in your mind.   Either way, it's a great bit of music to fall asleep to if you don't mind waking up randomly in a cold sweat.

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