Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Two Songs from Cathedral (Ourang Medan & Sea of Trees)

Two new drone heavy (as well as being bass heavy) songs for you. Use headphones if you have them.

Click here for "SEA OF TREES"

“See of Trees” is a dense, moody and honestly fairly heavy track off of “Cathedral”. It’s based around an initial improvised series of parts all in the same key (one guitar, one clarinet, one keyboard). Following this, layered over that, is a piano part and found sounds.

The Found sounds consist of Audio taken from people’s voice mails (one’s posted online, all of them your average “creepy-wrong number” kind of call). The ultimate effect has become something long, drone-heavy, dark and somewhat cinematic. I play the guitar, clarinet and keys on this one.

The title comes from the english translation for Aokigahara. For those unfamiliar with Aokigahara, it’s a woods frequented by those seeking to commit suicide in Japan. It’s incredibly tragic and haunting and has resonated with me since I first heard about it.

I love ghost stories. Anyone who knows me knows this. Of the stories I’ve heard, one of the only one’s that stuck with me has been that of the Ourang Medan. In his densely atmospheric (and bass heavy, so use headphones if you can) track, I feel I’ve captured, in a way, that fog heavy ghost-ship song that lingers around the telling of any good scary story. One that, though haunting, is unthreatening and almost exciting in its own churning way.

For those who haven’t heard the story, I’ve posted a brief summary from the excellent list of “top ten ghost-ships” from listverse:

In June, 1947, frantic Morse Code messages were received from the Dutch freighter Ourang Medan. The message was received by many ships and several responded. The message reported ‘All officers including captain are dead lying in chartroom and bridge. Possibly whole crew dead.’ A second message was received shortly after, this time a voice over the radio simply stating ‘I die’. Dutch and British listening posts were able to triangulate the position and vector a rescue attempt to the Ourang Medan. After several hours the Silver Star the arrived on scene. After failed attempts to hail the vessel using whistle signals and flashing lights. they assembled a small team and boarded the apparently undamaged Ourang Medan. They first ventured to the bridge where a radio was playing, several members of the Ships’ Company, including the Captain, were found dead, more corpses were discovered on the Cargo Deck including a dog standing on all four legs, frozen and snarling into thin air.

No survivors were found on board, but what was most disturbing was the nature of the bodies, all frozen in place looking up towards the sun, their arms outstretched, mouths gaping, and a look of immense horror on all their faces. A trip to the communications room revealed the author of the SOS messages, also dead, his hand still on the Morse sending key, eyes wide open and teeth bared. Strangely, there was no sign of wounds or injuries on any of the bodies. The crew of the Silver Star attempted to enter the Cargo Bay but a small explosion from an unknown source soon resulted in an uncontrollable inferno. Beaten back, they were forced to abandon the vessel and return to the safety of the Silver Star. Within minutes the vessel sank to the depths of the ocean floor.

Although there are no clear records of a ship by the name Ourang Medan existing, many conspiracy theorists believe the vessel was acting under a false name and was transporting something that ‘officially’ did not exist.

The fate of the Ourang Medan and her crew remain a mystery. Speculation has been made that pirates killed the crew and sabotaged the ship, although this doesn’t explain the peculiar grimaces and lack of injuries on the corpses. Others have claimed that clouds of methane or other noxious natural gases could have bubbled up from fissures on the sea bed and engulfed the ship. Even more fantastical theories involving aliens and ghosts abound.

Anyway, I hope you like it. It’s a slower, albeit in my view, almost more dramatic for it, number and I’m incredibly proud of it.

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