this thing is all i could've wanted from a new boduf songs project and more. the sparse instrumentation, especially the occasional piano, makes this new dark and introspective journey from mat sweet all the more beautiful and poignant. that second half especially, from sword weather on, is what i would call perfect. probably my favorite lyrics from boduf songs; the imagery is impeccable and striking. great addition for any fan of his previous work or anyone who loves dark music
Favorite track: Highlights of Void.
The skies are filled with//A light that shines//From mouths wide open//In screams and sighs//When you fall like Rome//Every muscle wasted//How your station turns//How your fingers tremble//In all your signals//Your flood and swell //Some chance for meaning//And flowers for control//When we fall like Rome //Gnashing teeth in ashes//How our fingers burn//How our stations tremble//Left your mark//In maps and stars//All around the place//All around the place//
Across the miles //Of valves aglow//We still remain here//In broken shells//And when we wake we close our eyes//And when we sleep they’re open wide//Black holes glass jaws//Everywhere we go//Streetlights lost roads//Everywhere we go// On blinking screens//The fuses all blown out//We still remain//In rented rooms//And when we wake we close our eyes//And when we sleep they’re open wide//Crystal car crash//Every- where we go//Dark stars dumb hearts //Everywhere we go//Wake up honey it’s time to go//Wake up sugar it’s time to go//Black holes glass jaws//Everywhere we go//Streetlights lost roads// Everywhere we go//Stay down with us//
Something moving between the days// Above the farms and the empty streets //Pale horses across the air//You are always on the edge//A million corpses ride the wave//Of fevered heartlight and chains of bile//While you’re laid out on the floor//Bastard cramps and a mind for ruin//
Slow move//Black nails//Unravelling//Teeth on limb//We can't get home from here//Sleeping on the floor//One step from the Earth //Storms in your eyes//You are not safe//Turn the lights out when you go //We see best in the dark//Tracing circles round names that taste like dust//At last they wake//And from the sky//They ride like fire//Cold hands//Hold out//
Soil gave what you saved//Wolves’ teeth in your hand//Swallow blood and a soul to take//Fingers break flowers fall// When you curse the Earth//When you save the day//Step ahead follow down//Virus eye to again//And never sway never break the words//Phantoms left for us now//When you turn to go// When you fall away//Now to end the world//
Stay awake until the morning//You will never sleep enough//Winter blood a plague of fables//Constellations turned to dust//Trace a line along the fracture//The strange geometry of us//A million miles over the threshold//We are one step from the Earth//Lay the blooms around your bower//Brace yourself for taking flight//A trail of bones across the empire//We will drive into the night//For all the noise and all the movement//There is nothing but escape//To breach the void to spurn denial//Gone and never gone again //We may never come to ground// We may never come to ground//We may never come to ground//We may never come to ground
I am aware//That we have walked//Into pouring rain//With our hands bound//And only prayed//The binds stay tight//Along the way// Burn your prize//Diamond spine//They all fall away//The black gulf sings//But snow dark days have compassed us//Along the way//We'll be creeping around the threshold//Head down cursing the cracks we fell through //One name somewhere among the millions//Crouched low deep in the back of your skull//
Boduf Songs’ seventh album and first on Orindal Records marks the Ohio-via-Southampton home recording project’s most detailed production yet, voyaging into deeper recesses than ever before. Abyss Versions will see the light of day on October 4, 2019.
Mat Sweet, the solitary figure behind Boduf Songs, has spent the better part of fifteen years cultivating an idiosyncratic strain of quiet menace, augmenting library-hushed vocals and brooding guitars with psychedelic flourishes from processed loops, field recordings, and distant, subliminal atmospheres.
Subtly acknowledging Boduf Songs’ beginnings, Abyss Versions echoes motifs from the first Boduf Songs album (2005’s Boduf Songs on Kranky Records), forming its own secret, circular path, encapsulating the journey from there to here. Sweet’s background in doom metal still seeps into the quiet, pensive world of Boduf Songs via mood and tone, balanced by shades of the fingerpicking mysticism of his first four albums. As always, the music of Boduf Songs is steeped in a palpable sense of darkness and dread, offset by a gorgeous and discreet sonic beauty. There is much prettiness here, albeit within an inescapably unsettling frame.
Throughout the album, sonorous melodies mix with the grind of drum machines, esoteric bleeps and bloops, and reversed tape experiments, all in counterpoint to the morphine-addled guitar and grimdark velvet vocals. There are haunting, dreamlike elements, the aching time/no-time uncanny sad-charms of some far off Gene Vincent/Chet Baker number never recorded from an alternate Lynchian universe. Sounds emerge into the light then fade back into the darkness as repetition and hypnotic drone play against the movement. Forward and upward, we move without moving.
Whilst a different beast, Abyss Versions eight tracks retain Boduf Songs’ trademark austere minimalism: “Black Nails” is comprised almost entirely of only the patient, painstaking thrum of hard-panned guitar and vocals, until cavernous cosmic reverberations bring balance, then rise into a soft crescendo with piano and cymbal swells.
“Unseen Forces and How to Use Them” employs an ancient drum machine as heartbeat, over which a delicate falsetto chorus rises to incant “Black holes, glass jaws, everywhere we go, streetlights, lost roads, everywhere we go” before surrendering to an insistent riff; crisp and clean, which could easily be repurposed as a doom anthem.
The bass in “Behold, I Have Graven Thee Upon The Palms of My Hands; Thy Walls Are Continually Before Me” thuds along, as a lonesome artificial voice crackles out through arcane burps in a electronic ritual that might just summon something out of the ether.
Abyss Versions is full of love, and the expanse of things outside of us, the slow, elegiac stir of echoes, the mixed blessing of memory, the sensation of rot and longing. A letting go. A refusal to let go. The static that carries you off, the swell of feeling that is delicately tuned away, the whisper of consciousness, snuffed gently out. An opium dream, curling smoke spiraling into the blackness of a dimmed room's ceiling, meditations on mortality and the void for those who travel by night.
released October 4, 2019
Written and recorded by M. Sweet
Design by Fifteen Peter Twenty with M. Pick
Print by Hieronymus Wierix, pre-1619
"All that is in the world...the longing of the flesh
the longing of the eyes...and the arrogance of Life"
supported by 29 fans who also own “Abyss Versions”
I've only grown to love this album more and more since it dropped a couple years ago. Listening to this album feels comparable to wearing a heavy wool coat during a midnight walk through the windy and bitter autumn cold. James Loves You