Breathing is one of the most metaphorically loaded sounds in the human audial repertoire. The connotations are scattered throughout various psychological/physiological states: sexual activity, heavy physical labor, asthma/emphysema, the experience of focusing on one’s own breath cycle during meditation, the respiratory system being exposed to hostile or poisonous conditions, air supplies to the human body in outer space or deep-sea diving, fear, anticipation, etc. The A-side of this tape is almost exclusively composed of this primal element. It’s a dense, constant loop that slowly morphs over the course of the entire side. Hypnotic approaches a description of the overall effect on the listener. I tried to listen to this while driving through the countryside of Maine and had to pull the tape out of the stereo. The internal environments were overwhelming my external experience of the changing pastoral landscape.
Where “The Pleasure Tunnel” slowly builds upon itself, “The Temple of Paradise” is full of twisted passageways and abrupt turns. Creeping, cold, vaporous drones emanate from the depths of the subconscious, worked into a cut-up style the brings to mind early works of Nurse with Wound. Only halfway through this seemingly endless hallway do we hear Bryan Lewis Saunders’ twin stereo vocals begin to describe this fractured dreamscape. Finally, there’s the startling payoff of white-hot harsh frequencies evaporating the memory of dreamstate.
The liner notes for this collaboration are illuminating and thought-provoking; seldom is a working process explained in such detail. Rather than robbing the mystery from the work, it operates on a curatorial level of providing a specific context and deeper appreciation for the circumstances contributing to such a superb end product. Here’s an excerpt:
“One time while I was ill with a severe lung infection I had extremely similar dreams on two consecutive nights. Both nights I entered the most vibrant and wonderful places ever created but they were now totally vacant, desolate, voids of despair and in ruin and disrepair. Amazingly, the recordings I made of them were almost equal in length as well as being extremely similar in sound quality. Over the course of 2 nights my subconscious had become a reflection of my phlegm and I was drowning in it.” —Bryan Lewis Saunders
A1) The Pleasure Tunnel
B1) The Temple of Paradise