Andy Ortmann Nightmania

[Nihilist; 2005]

Rating: 4.5/5

Styles: sound collage, industrial lullaby
Others: Dave Phillips, NWW, Des’ree

I have a tendency to work myself to the bone late at night (in front of the computer), and will find myself in a predictably futile battle against sleep. Generally while pushing my body to the limit for the sake of Yahoo! euchre, I have music playing, and what music it is is immaterial to my level of wakefulness (to dispose of any untoward implications that might blossom out of the coming sentences). One such night, I had this record playing (from the creative mind that brought you such hits as Panicsville and Contradiction!) as I nodded in and out of trumps and bowers.

I think it was the dance-y number featuring a chainsaw and dot-matrix printer that struck me most vividly in my ripe-for-dreams brain. As we all know, this physiological state can lead to the most strangely convincing and affecting dreams, due to your mind being torn between being awake and asleep, and your waking (indelible) senses lobbing in a few old chestnuts of reality to truly fuck you up. In this case, as with most others, I could not and cannot describe what exactly this "dream" consisted of, my memory being simply of snapping awake a very uneasy rider (remarkable Charlie Daniels... epic?) and eventually finding Nightmania to blame.

Why convey this semantically threadbare recollection in a record review? Honestly, a large reason involves the difficulty in writing a review of this type of music (unconventional, avant-garde) without throwing it under the scalpel and draining it until it's dry enough to compartmentalize and serve to the eager reader's awaiting face — but that is both a pleasant enough read and informative. Sadly, that often falls on little stories to wrap the record around. And this record wrapped so neatly around the "weirdly affecting/affected dream" yarn!

While not entirely dissimilar from his output as Panicsville!, it is reined in by a coherent theme of ominously elusive meanderings (which might explain his not releasing it under the auspices of that project). The trademark meticulous sound-collaging permeates the record, to the further effect of an honest abstraction/derivation of a dream. I know my dreams have never been a Cocteau Twins song. It was to my delight/dismay that later I happened to read what was written on the CD, wherein he essentially states that what I'd experienced was what he intended, of a sort. The album and corresponding artwork were meant as a literal parsing into reality of Andy's dreams. From his dreams to mine, and with any luck, to yours.

1. The Primal White Jelly
2. The Deadlier of the Species
3. Genesis of the Mindbenders
4. Swarm, Plague, or Other
5. Hairball Goes a Mousing
6. The Flies are Laying Eggs

Most Read