As much an exorcism as an exhibition, Rene J. Nuñez Cabrera’s solo work as Horoscope is categorically unflinching. Obsession on Acid Casualty Productions, one of several recent releases, is no exception, showing off Nuñez’s uncanny and uncomfortable penchant for self-flagellation and scathing introspection. The tape begins with a woman’s whimpering. Someone—the main character of the tape, perhaps—has found a new girl and left behind this broken, tearful person. The effect is disquieting. Is this real? Are we supposed to be hearing this? Will God really forgive us of our sins?
The tape has a definite arc, ambling through dark ambient passages, corrosive power electronics tracks, and finally coming out the other side with a triumphant analog synth piece before a subtle denouement. While the tape shows Nuñez at his most sonically eclectic, it’s also his most focused meditation on redemption and transcendence. At some level, Obsession is an exhibition of a nuanced shame, but rather than falling into the pitfall of showing off a laundry list of misbehavior, Nuñez crafts a poignant argument against monochromatism. There are many ways and many reasons to feel shame, but no one shame is identical to another. As with other Horoscope releases, Obsession is haunted by the shadow of a silent God, and plays out like a groveling prayer.
Obsession tells one of the oldest stories in our mythological repertoire—the return journey of the fallen to proper standing—but it doesn’t have a perfect, or an easy, ending. Nuanced shame calls for nuanced salvation, especially when every action and word is recorded and documented. Rather than be a victim of the panopticon, Nuñez plays his own prison guard, bailiff, and warden. With a past that follows like a ragged but loyal dog, it’s difficult to say what happens next. Does he find redemption? Does anyone?
A1) Xerox Fetish
A2) Ritual 1 (Lust Meditation)
B1) Harsh Surrealism
B2) Mary’s Coins over the Eyes