Millipede Death Mountain

[INSTALL; 2009]

Styles:  meditative-sublime-noise-gaze
Others: Dark Link, Skull Kid, Agahnim

There is a terrifying feeling that comes upon us when our aesthetic faculty cannot find a proper place for an aesthetic sensation. Immediately, we attempt to categorize the unruly object, to put it underneath an already established concept, so that we can understand it according to that concept and the sounds that we have already put under it. Once we do this, though, we have already distanced ourselves from its immediacy. One thing that the bourgeois-music-power-structures have attempted to ensure, besides pushing music that will perpetuate capital-accumulation, is that the music they push does not challenge us in any way to think outside of the categories that have already been defined (arguably, by those very same power-structures). When a sound prevents us from immediately categorizing it, it forces our sensibilities to work in a way that is discomforting at first. Some listeners will push the stop button as soon as this terrifying feeling begins to arise because, for them, work isn’t entertaining. But other listeners will embrace this enjoyable horror; they will go looking for albums that freak their aesthetic faculty the fuck out, because there aren’t many other legal ways to feel the same way. Millipede’s Death Mountain is such an album.

Joseph Davenport (Millipede, TMT contributor) plays a trick on the listener in the opening tracks of both Hyrule, a 2008 cassette release, and Death Mountain. For just a few moments, we are on solid ground — the former begins with a familiar picked guitar phrase on “Midna,” while the latter starts with a recognizable gazed chord progression on “Stalfos.” But immediately after these few comfortable moments, any safety gets buried underneath an onslaught of seemingly discontinuous sonic paranoia. We are compelled by our aesthetic faculty to pull back the layers of hiss, spit, and fuzz on “Daphnes Nohansen,” but the joyful feeling of being thrust into the maze of sound-textures urges us to prolong reaching the safety of the substratum (assuming there is one). For just a moment, the colossal wall of distortion and loops break down in “Syrup the Witch.” Tiny interludes of space open up a temporary but anticipatory calmness, only long enough for the potion to take hold and thrust us into the swirling, disorienting walls of “Kakariko Village” — a mystifying place that has a tendency to change location and content over time.

Death Mountain is a road album that takes us through itself, namely the world of the same name that Millipede has recreated. Each sound-aspect contributes to the building of the world: the many layers of warped loops and feedbacker wails act as a foundation for an entire form of life. We can see the construction of this world coinciding with the sounds in our ears. With each record, Millipede takes us deeper and deeper into this world; after all, Death Mountain is a place inside Hyrule. The individual tracks represent characters and objects that exist within the world. These characters and objects, along with the world as a whole, become animated with each twisting, pulsing phrase. The closer one listens, the more one begins to see things move, take shape, and breathe. This world might sound eerily familiar to any classic gamer, but through Millipede’s re-imagining it takes on entirely new values and forms. The content and appearance of the world alters depending on how we listen to it. Such a transformation is always discomforting at first, and if it is perpetual, then it is always uncategorizable.

1. Stalfos
2. Gyorg
3. Daphnes Nohansen
4. Red Candle
5. Grumble Grumble
6. Syrup the Witch
7. Kakariko Village

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