Friday, February 3, 2017

MORTUUS AURIS & THE BLACK HAND
“The Journal of a Disappointed Man”
(Never Anything)





We are all The Disappointed Man, and we share this journey of disappointment with the UK’s Peter Taylor, the man laboring for all of us as Mortuus Auris & the Black Hand. We live in the era of the Grand Letdown, and all of the people who have thwarted any of our stumbling attempts toward happiness are reflected here back into us, a reminder that the universe is cold and indifferent and even hostile when it comes down to it. And of course “recent events” – yes, everybody, strap in – have pretty much bleakened the future to such a degree that it’s almost impossible to consider without a heavy dose of Prozac to accompany the vision. It’s dark out there.

Or is that really true? Yes, it may feel like that sometimes, and without resorting to the pie-in-the-sky platitudes of “everything’s going to be OK” (because honestly, a good hunk of the time it’s not), maybe all The Disappointed Man really needs is a) a kick in in the right direction or b) something once – just once – to go his way so he can get himself back on track. (Forgive the pronouns – I’m just following Peter here because he’s a cisgender male; pretend everything’s gender neutral.) So, among the clearly heavy subject matter of this instrumental release (the MAbH formula of experimental/drone/ambient is sublimely intact) peek shafts of periodic light, as when death is suggested in the title of “A Grave Amongst the Spheres” but the fact that perhaps the body and spirit of the person in that grave has returned to the universal consciousness or energy flow ends up being more comforting than anything.

And that’s the beauty of Disappointed Man – while not participating in a sort of gallows humor in the face of sheer disillusionment, Taylor still takes an alternate point of view from the one that’s directly menacing him. It’s not hope, necessarily (although it could be), but rather it’s a shifted perspective that allows for considering the beauty in the turmoil, the moments of peace and rest while the world – a personal, singular world – is subjected to disjunctive forces at frequent intervals. “Solace in Histories” trickles down a gentle piano melody, its notes stopping time for consideration of the title where “solace” is the overarching mood but “history” takes on strictly personal meaning. One can’t help but ignore the broader, capital-H “History,” with its violence, and its wars, and its sheer volume in this instant, where you’re reminded of the quiet and precious interactions among people. Taylor takes this a step further on the obviously titled “Our Tender Interaction,” almost nine minutes of ache shared with one’s most intimate relations – partner, parent, child – but the weight of that ache spread over multiple shoulders becomes less heavy a burden.

The Journal of a Disappointed Man is a reserved and resigned document meant for sharing, a record of hardship and of honoring the ones who share that hardship with you, who are there for you through anything, and with whom the joys – small or large, frequent or infrequent – are celebrated together, making them all the more sweet and important. Disappointment is an overwhelming load to carry, and any relief from it, however slight, can be an intense reprieve. If that liberation results in unbridled hope, so be it. If all that comes from it is tentative joy, that can be just as good.




--Ryan Masteller

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