AMANDA R. HOWLAND “Meeting Dr. Ancient” (Unifactor)

Any Amanda R. Howland release should be braced for, and Meeting Dr. Ancient is no different. (Although I keep saying Meeting Dr. Evil in my head for some reason. Now it’s out here. On the internet.) The main attraction is the heavily distorted and manipulated vocals, sometimes over a backdrop of deep silence, at other blasted to smithereens by static or feedback. There’s a bit of the primal scream approach to Meeting Dr. Ancient, but it’s much deeper and richer than Howland simply, ahem, howling into the abyss. Here the abyss stares back. Here the abyss reflects your own head, your own thoughts back at you, except that you’re a mirror and you didn’t realize it, so the whole thing’s just an infinite mirror reflection until the Twilight Zone theme plays. Or something like that.


The voice buzzes in my head, and then the buzzing buzzes in my head also. I wonder if the exact thing happens to Amanda R. Howland, and the whole process of recording is the process to get it out the mind and into the air? There’s an unrelenting aspect to all this, in that Howland pushes the limits of our listening to several different breaking points, then continues past those points full on as if there was no danger and everything was just going to end exactly how Howland wants it to end. In that sense, then, we’re collateral damage on Amanda R. Howland’s way to the edge of whatever it is she’s barreling toward. Not sure if there’s any thought of coming back unscathed. In fact, I highly doubt that thought has crossed Howland’s mind at all.