Friday, April 21, 2017

THE CELESTIAL BODY
“The Hell Realm”
(Spare No Expanse)




What is the “Hell Realm” anyway? Is it “Infinite Purgatory”? Can you have one without the other? Or are they inextricably linked? I think that’s what The Celestial Body is asking, anyway, and the results might surprise you. Or maybe they won’t – I don’t know what your take on all this bleakgaze wish fulfillment is. Perhaps it’s just a coping mechanism, a strategy to work through the, dare I repeat, infinite problems associated with modern living, a reaction to the reaction to the reaction. Again, infinite is key – it’s like infinite sadness, a blanket gut punch stretching from horizon to horizon. But I promise you that this does not sound remotely like The Smashing Pumpkins.

This sure seems like a strategy – an inward-looking song cycle of complete disappointment. The beauty of such a thing, of course, is its ability to reflect our own insecurities back at us in such a way that makes the path toward destruction less than a complete nightmare. That’s where The Celestial Body comes in. Part of the Posthumankrew, the mysterious artist begins The Hell Realm with sort of a fake-out, a proto–Wax Trax! composition with the appropriately proto–Wax Trax! title “Rest in Piss.” Its mixed-back Jourgensen-esque vocal samples lend it an air of passing from this life to the next – albeit a bad death, as suggested by the title. Anyway, without reading too much into that (I’d probably go on for a while), you can consider the rest of the tape a replication of purgatorial existence, a dark, dreamlike experience that skews neither positive nor negative. The dank electronics cast surreal imagery on the imagination, allowing it multiple avenues to process feelings both unstable and grounded. In short, The Hell Realm plays as sort of a lectionary for the afterlife.

But here, life goes on, and once the tape ends you’re reminded of your continued existence. Your endless, continued existence. Maybe this is our purgatory right now – who knows? Endless weirdness – kind of like how everybody thought the island on Lost was purgatory for so long. To borrow from the film popularized (in theaters!) by Mystery Science Theater 3000, perhaps our planet is like Lost’s island, and “this island Earth” is an infinite waypoint for us eventual “celestial” beings. Or maybe it’s just plain old Earth, and The Celestial Body has my own imagination in a stranglehold. Who’s to say for sure.




--Ryan Masteller

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