AMBERGRIS: “Anti-Matter Alma Mater” (Potlatch, I Gather Tapes)

To continue with George’s theme of label debuts, along comes Matthew Thurber’s Potlatch, I Gather, a tape label dedicated to releasing “books on tape”, radio-play type stories with musical backgrounds of Thurber’s own creation. This first release was used as the soundtrack to an art exhibit of the same name done in collaboration with Rebecca Bird and appearing in both Switzerland and Brooklyn last year. It follows the story of a character named Charles who returns to his old school, the Carrot University of Time Travel, for a class reunion. He begins talking to an old classmate and former girlfriend, a twin made of crystal, who tries to jog his amnesia-affected memory of his past, but he continues to only draw a blank as his frontal lobe has been stolen, presumably by a third, malcontented classmate. With bells and chimes reminiscent of Dungeons & Dragons audio adventures, and Thurber’s distinct brand of Beefheart calypso, he spins this tale of desperation on side one. But on side two, entitled “Wormhole”, he stays strictly musical and details through his lyrics how, as he writes, “the same characters find themselves trapped in a Wormhole for all eternity, due to poor study skills”. Although the overlaps of voices can become confusing at times, the story is still relatively straightforward and, being adept at keyboard, ukulele, and saxophone, the composition of the music proves itself as remarkably proficient.

If you still can’t follow the story, you can pick up one of his comics, which oftentimes contain stories involving the same characters and concepts from Picturebox books. If you still can’t figure out what’s going on after that, I don’t know what to tell you.

Comes with xerox insert and paint pen, hand-decorated tapes.