VOSP “Pale Shelter” (Anathema Archive)

I think I’m being punk’d.

Christian Mirande writes about “active listening” when it comes to Pale Shelter, like I’m expected to screw up my consciousness and direct it right to a point where nothing recorded to this VOSP tape can even remotely get past me. Well, the joke’s on him, and VOSP, and Anathema Archive, because I don’t have to do a g-d*mn thing to “actively listen” to Pale Shelter. Pale Shelter does the work on its own, making it so I don’t have to Zen out and pretend that I’m paying attention while manipulated field recordings of insects skritch past my waking mind and directly into my subconscious. Nope – all I do is turn on this g-d*mn tape and it’s got its friggin hooks in me. Are they skritchy insect hooks? G*d, I hope not.

Maybe it was intended as a lecture. Was it intended that way? I could do without lectures. You get lectures from me, not the other way around.

VOSP, though – VOSP is an attention grabber. VOSP doesn’t skimp on the entry points, on the jaw-droppers. When you talk about “active listening,” you’re assuming a mindset, a focus necessitating prep time. Well I went in cold on Eric Grieshaber’s wild sonic fantasies, and I was ripped from my worldview and chucked through a black hole where everything was reverberating and pulsing all around me. Was I a cartoon dog on an interstellar surfboard, catching some cosmic gnar on a molecular level? You better believe it. That’s how I was able to get to the center of it all, pass through the “Colorless Dream,” and hang ten on a friggin constellation. Some of you might be thinking, “Well, isn’t that neat. I’ll get myself ready and dip my toe in the water.” That’s not going to be enough. First, Pale Shelter is going to serrate your face. Then, it will become so cold that it boils. Then, it’s all cartoon dogs and surfboards.

Life doesn’t always make sense. You can’t always gear up. Just roll with it. Lecture over.