Mike Majkowski
Days and Other Days [LP; Astral Spirits]

Australian double bassist Mike Majkowski has participated in a ton of ensembles, but this record tells me he works best on his own. Days and Other Days is a swampy bog of sound that insistently burrows deeper and deeper until there’s nowhere else to go. Think miner helmets and dead canaries; it’s all there, man, written on the wall in blood. The other day my wife and kids were digging at the beach and found this clay-like substance; I wondered if there’s perhaps a point at which they were going too far down, to dank depths that could produce oil or angry spirits. Then Astral Spirits send me this LP; coincidence? Yes. Still, how far can you dig before the bends set in? “Chapter” and “Meadow” both ask this question; “Matter,” to lead off Side B, adds splashes of beauty to the stew before it turns truly terrifying. It’s foggy at a pier; it’s late. You don’t know how you got here and you sure as hell don’t know how to get out. Then you see a glimmer of light. You follow it because it sounds a lot like a human voice, an eerily calm human voice. Then a chorus of loud, high-pitched bells interrupts the tranquility and leaps back just as fast. It would be one thing to have to get used to the glowing bells, but to have them enter and disperse randomly seems like a form of torture. Shakers, a newfound sense of rhythm, THEN THE BELLS. Good. GOD. Man. Majkowski is patient with his mystical recipes, flipping pigeons and sending smoke signals like a shaman when he wants to communicate, then closing the shutters just to mess with your mind. Or at least that’s my interpretation of “Matter,” and once it’s run its course “Growth” is there, grinding its teeth in the dark, waiting for its victim to stumble into the room. I don’t know why I’ve gone so… shadow-y with this review. It just seems that Days and Other Days is gray, sinister, slightly nefarious if not outright treacherous. Either way it’s time for YOUR take, if you don’t mind.

Cerberus

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