“Afraid of Death”
(American Damage)

Am I afraid of death?

I don’t know. I used to be. Then I used to not be. Then I was afraid of the pain involved in dying, and the more I imagined that, the more I became afraid of death again.

No, wait – so that makes me definitely afraid of pain, but it doesn’t answer the initial question.

So am I afraid of death? I don’t know! Probably.

Jordan Reyes slips us into his worldview through this “collection of songs and sounds in pursuit of permanence,” although just what “permanence” means as you confront the rest of time is up for debate. These song- and sound collage–based mediations open up various avenues for contemplation, of mortality, of relationships, of meaning. What could be an overwrought concept quickly overcomes any indication of heavy-handedness, as Reyes allows the passages and the spaces they contain to convey mood without browbeating you with forced perspective.

Even the songs themselves – haunted folk numbers – feel properly in place as the tape unfolds. “In Memoriam” closes the cassette with reverence, as it sounds like the entire track is a field recording of an actual funeral service. Does it help me feel better about myself as I contemplate eternity? I … still have no idea.

American Damage