"Music is the great Hypnotic. Music puts me just so out of everything. I get taken
beyond every reference that indicates who I am or how I behave. Just so out of it.
Music is dangerous in so many ways. It's the most dangerous thing in the world"
Don DeLillo - Great Jones Street.
Prefacing a review with words a such is almost a fullstop. Also it places deserved
weight on the work of Daniel Thomas Freeman, whose debut album 'The Beauty of Doubting
Yourself ' weaves an ominous presence developing layers of textured sounds into an
ominous brooding presence that could equally fit DeLillo's description. It draws you
into to it's sound at once almost a ritual as much as a practice of experimentation,
rendered bass layers echo between hints of didgeridoo and sonic tunnel as if in some
ancient embrace. Over layered is the patina of static and vocal calls, wafting into
the distance, voice and it's range slowly hymn like taking you into the ethereal
spectral with just the hint of optimism. It is essentially an ambient experimental
album with classical touches or nuances buried deep in its form. The emphasis on a
technological approach to create the ancient modern ritual sound is forefront in
the listening experience. Essentially that was a description of the second track,
the 25.22 minute 'Staring into Black water'. The album is structured into three
movements and the first is opened by 'Dark House Walk' which concentrates on minimal
drones and intermittent and lone percussive touches with the odd melodic addition to
its deep brooding presence.
The second movement is in three parts, beginning with title track 'The Beauty of
Doubting Yourself', a complex set of string and percussion, enmeshed as if in a wall,
with distorted gleams protruding from its body it projects an almost twisted gamelan
into the ear of the beholder. 'The Might of Angels' is a slow build noise driven
distortion that eventually becomes layered with an attack layer of bass lurking as
the noise wavers and pans. Then opening up the full range with accordionesque drone
and high tone aspects building the wall of layers into a reverential sound, majestic
and dark. 'The Devil would steal your Joy' has that touch of menace, disturbed bass
wobblings and vocal samples woven into a haltering round, pianoforte style keys
adding form over the developing menace of the lower register. It is the most
psychologically disturbing piece on the album. If 'The Beauty of Doubting Yourself'
can be seen as an emotional portrait this is the depths and most dramatic moments of
these self examinations.
The final movement is structured as the resolution of the album, having warded off
the dark night, the self that is doubted emerges into the delicate beauty of 'Elegy
and Rapture (For Margret)' with its classical elements and generally structured and
content feel it has lost the presence of being disturbed and emerges into a self
assured tone. 'Staring into the light' ends the final movement with a sampled church
recording introducing a tone and drone piece whose organ tones invoke the church in
form and the water dripping higher drones wash down over the piece while the reverential
high organ drones deliver the resolved optimistic presence slowly into a form of restrained
jubilation hat befits the work of a self examined life. Daniel Thomas Freeman, founding
member of Rameses III delivers a masterful portrait of psychological appraisal through
musical form that delivers both experimental form and technological prowess as well as
a keen understanding of the human condition.
Saturday 10 September 2011