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Lovecraft, H. P. : The Festival

If you haven’t found your way to Cadabra Records and their spoken word nightmares, this is a good starting point. The label has been putting out a steady stream of cool new releases for a few years now and they’ve all been terrific. My favorites are the ones that give listeners a chance to hear a Lovecraft story read by Andrew Leman, an actor who brings the perfect blend of reason and nightmare to his performance. Lovecraftian narrators are supposed to sound that way; they understand, like few others do, just how tenuous our grasp on reality really is.

I won’t write much about “The Festival” other than just a little background to it. The story first appeared in Weird Tales in 1925 and has endured not only as a dark Christmas tale, but also as a cool story that concludes with a memorable passage from the Necronomicon, Lovecraft’s fictional grimoire. I won’t quote that passage here because it needs to be experienced within the larger context of the tale and I don’t want to quote the ending for those who haven’t heard it before. Needless to say, it points to realities beyond human reason and experience and brings the story to a chilling conclusion.

I enjoy the story so much that I would have been satisfied if this were just a recording of Leman reading. But Cadabra Records has done a great job of bringing musical talent to their recordings to add greater interest to the experience. For this release, they turned, once again, to Fabio Frizzi, a composer best known for his work on films like Kill Bill, The Beyond, and City of the Living Dead. His collaboration on Cadabra’s release of Lovecraft’s Fungi from Yuggoth was terrific and fans should definitely find much to enjoy here. Frizzi’s score (and his playing) lends a sense of wonder and mystery to the story in ways that perfectly suit the story’s mounting sense of wrongness. He knows enough about scoring things like this to know when to build tension through the right blend of subtlety and quiet. At times, the score is light and friendly, something primed for Christmas celebrations of all kinds. But then things grow chilling as the story works its way to its ghastly ending.

These albums only come in vinyl and so much of their appeal comes from their collectible nature. I know that some of the label’s previous releases are out of print and I wouldn’t be surprised if this one also sold quickly. They are definitely worth collecting. They come with an essay on weird fiction by noted Lovecraft scholar S. T. Joshi and they also have newly commissioned cover art that is fun to explore. Fans of Lovecraft would definitely be interested in this one. I really enjoyed it.

Track Listing:
1. The Festival, A Side
2. The Festival, B Side

Added: December 14th 2020
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Label Page
Hits: 636
Language: english

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