Stranded, we gawk into the shadows of the Lair of the Minotaur. The only colour in this ruin is the ghostly glimmer of a golden chain we uncoil behind us, it connects us to the outside, or perhaps, across the millennia, to romantic audiences gawking into the shadows in the front-cover of a 4AD record, a gateway into this eternal lair where they are tempted by the glimpse of this golden chain we uncoil, thinking that love awaits, and instead awaits the Minotaur.
This thing that we refer to as the Lair of the Minotaur has of course been simplified over the ages. Let us make one thing clear. It is not the collapsed cellar of a Mediterranean cult. It is not a labyrinth. It is a country whose diverse provinces have been visited by a mix of plagues – Dante would feel at home here, and so would the silent knight which is the default icon for From Software’s interactive hallucinations.
This is Mushy’s place. Tonight (it’s always tonight here) we find her hunting for a dragon down one of the spokes of this hellish wheel. She calls a lightning bolt that flares in the black of this very black place, revealing the dragon she came here to slay, and what’s worse, that the dragon is in her, is her.
She is faced with the classic Lynchian conundrum: she is tainted, but clearly not guilty, for the dragon that was visited upon her could have been visited so upon anyone else. Slaying the dragon would mean slaying herself, which is unfair for she is innocent. It would also liberate the dragon to prey on others, which would make her guilty.
So she is doomed to wander forever in these moors of grief, hosting the dragon, singing, think of these songs as rituals of exorcism – she tortures the dragon with beauty, she appeases it by acting as a conduit to corrupt us, who are kept mostly safe by her sacrifice.
It’s a messy deal, for which we owe her.
You’ll find some of these songs /episodes of torture/ritual purges/funereal marches/condensations of ambient evil into a human shape/summoning of the love to forgive them in Breathless, Mushy’s latest album, out now in Mannequin. Rough Trade just gave it album of the week, and they were right. Go get.
As an excellent bonus, here you have a video of the title track for Thread Pulls’ wonderful ‘You Melt Worlds’ 12. Which is like going into bullet time in a world where drums are guns. God lurks in this drone-space, we caught a glimpse of it, wearing a This Heat t-shirt.