Category Archives: The Coombe

Oh, Whistle…

Featuring : The Coombe


The Coombe’s self/titled EP on Mannequin has invaded the screen of our psychic radar like a flotilla of aeroplanes loaded with ghost-drugs that add extra layers to our sensory input.

Depending on the song, this may be the muslin-like textures of the ectoplasm of Victorian mediums, iridescent bubbles dancing past the dada architectures of a pacific reef, or the chalk-scribbled formula for organic compounds which always come to our minds whenever we think of those daring sonic explorers toggling with unstable radio-phonic apparatus deep in the vaults of the BBC.

All of these scenarios are Hauntological obsessions that 20JFG shares.

Their gestalt is soft-edged and blurry, their shape was assembled with arcane techniques and technologies sufficiently obsolete to be indistinguishable from legend.

They arrive from a dead world, transforming their creators – here, Karen Sharkey and Samuel de La Rosa – into vehicles for a possession, and their users – us and also you – into necromancers à la Joseph Curwen.

These séance-like attributes of the moment that starts when we press play contribute to its eeriness. That and the thematic obsession of this dead universe we are tearing into with the paranormal and the occult, with the unpredictable implications of scientific experiments where you travel far away and come back, accompanied by a strange shadow.

Which is what we just did, oops.

All these impressions and hidden forces lurk under the surface of Tierra Amarilla, the song that we are posting today. The macabre is however overwhelmed, in this case, by an aura of gossamer beauty, strange like the violations of gravity & refractions of light that occur underwater, made stranger by their use to describe New Mexican valleys (the Yellow Land), like those from which according to alternative folklore, the Ancient People (Anasazi) sailed into the constellations, never to be seen again.

The Coombe – Tierra Amarilla

Do purchase the EP here. Go here to watch more short films by Karen Sharkey, like this wonderful oddity sound-tracked by Samuel.

Shadow caravanseray


Three thin pale sisters welcome you in with melodious voices. It is warm and it smells of clean sheets, baked bread and burnished wood. They bid you to stay as long as needed, and rest and recover before venturing back into the wilderness outside.

They smile and they swirl and all of your wishes are fulfilled. Cream soup, a well-appointed library, good conversation and delightful entertainment every night, shadow puppets running through the walls with a fairy tale that puts you to sleep.

Some things you do notice.

There is a subtle whiff of something sour in the breath of the three sisters, of something rotten in the food that they serve you, of something crawling behind the florid wallpapers of their lounge, of something awful in the shadow puppets that stretch and linger over the walls.

Also, note that you have never seen these three sisters in the light of day. Wait. You haven’t seen the light of day since you arrived here. Wait. For how long have you been here?

Tonight (it’s always tonight) shadow puppets run over the walls, dangle acrobatically from the wrist of a sister around the neck of another, leap on the floor and scurry into the shadows where their little eyes glimmer luridly. They jump on your chest like cats made of mist, and stretch their paws around your throat.

As you start dozing off, they whisper a strange story.

About a house in the countryside and a God-fearing father, a silent mother and three daughters who liked to play in the forest behind the country-house. About the shadowy things they met in that forest and how the father didn’t like them.

About how he forbade them from playing with the shadows and what the sisters did about it. Blades in the night, a brief trial. Three ropes over the branch of an oak, their bodies so slight it barely creaked.

And then the house empty, save for the shadows. And then thin pairs of pale arms tearing a rend in the veil, crawling back into the house and its lonely limbo, waiting for visitors to keep them company in the shadows of a night that lasts forever.

The Coombe – Tierra Amarilla

Troller – Winter

The Knife – Without You My Life Would Be Boring

Cabaal – In Flux

Mayerling – La Mort n’en saura rien

You roam the shadows for an eternity. Eventually you find your bag, and strike a match. You slowly get your bearings.

Ahead of you, there is a tunnel dug in the rock that heads further down. Go there.

In the wall to the right there is a portal humming ever so slightly. Go there.

2013 References

Image from book cover for Shirley Jackson’s ‘We have Always Lived in the Castle’.
We loved The Coombe’s parcel from A. Machen’s country, and Troller’s glaciar-like ballads. The lumbering beast that was The Knife’s album could perhaps have done with some light editing, but we nevertheless surrendered to its claustrophobic embrace (and loved the Margaret Atwood references).