During the Question & Answer following the premiere for the wonderful A Field in England, Ben Wheatley mentioned that one of the reasons for using black & white in this film was that it lessened chromatic distractions, helping the audience focus on faces and their expressions, instead of clothes and their colours. It also merged the Earth, the Sky and the Humans that straddle these realms – and others – inside a painting in movement.
We will have more to say about A Field in England at some point soon, but for now let us indicate that the principle of monotony as a director of attention that Mr. Wheatley identified for his film is also at play in music like that we bring you today, Light House.
Light House don’t just mesmerise us with a monotony, they actually combine two – the emotional blank of minimal wave and the abyssal dirge of drone music, two asymptotes that unfold with different speeds and paths, one amphetaminically avant, the other brooding and sideways, like that strange oblivion at the end of The Beyond.
Adding them two is like adding infinites. We obtain an error, the system crashes, we are hurled into the fog, a zone of uncertainty that is eventually determined depending on the person.
We ourselves awake in a cell cubic like Lemarchand’s box. A limbo where guitar melodies and feeric vocals dance in the air and intertwine ectoplasmically, eventually around our throats to throttle us, while a synthesiser drone pounds merciless like the iron fist of a satanic prince, compressing space until we are crushed and rendered shapeless, part of the dark wave that bleeds into an stygian shore.
Marie Davidson’s is a private aesthetic, that is, a theory of beauty and its sources developed individually, and away from the social circles and communities where such things are often formed. This brings to mind the idea of a bedroom where shadows & memories take the role of monsters, giants and/or lovers, or a corridor wallpapered in ochres and severe faces, leading to a lounge where mysterious essences are distilled from an atmosphere thick with threat & feeling. Think of Catherine Deneuve in Repulsion, or Isabel Adjani in Possession, but endowed with snarling drum machines.
The union of her aesthetic and ours implies a process of persuasion, where we are slowly turned to the murky side, or a process of revelation, where we realise that her vision of beauty and ours are the same and essentially true, we watch this vision turn into a storm of raven that flies in the face of postmodernism to peck its eyes off.
We cannot identify the relative force of those two interpretations, and even if we could, it wouldn’t matter anyway. What matters is their effect, an alteration of the parameters of space around us and the laws of physics that govern it, and the demonstration of the power of the music that provokes it.
Drum beats thumping muffled like the heartbeats of a Young Marble Giant, the psychic imprint of ancient events in the echo of skeletal handclaps, the shrill siren of the synthesisers, or their delicate networking into a gothic cobweb, or their swirling in a spell of Jamaican Obeah, and through all of this Marie Davidson’s voice illuminating, shadowing, bouncing through the halls of this strange manor erected with a private aesthetic all hers, now ours.