A while back I received the disc torched laughter for review. It was presented to me as an acoustic companion to Christopher's previous album Smoke and Origination. The disc torched laughter can be purchased separately but I think that is only for those who already own Smoke and Origination. When I listened to both of these works, it was nearly impossible for me to not think about the later without associating it with his earlier work. So that is why I decided to review them together. The way they were meant to be listened to and the way that they are going to infect your soul with Christopher's hypnotic view of life.
It may be terrible to find yourself looking out upon the cold, dark world that seems to surround us. The filth of our urban sprawl and the ever growing decay of the planet are evident every time we look around. The industrialization takes away from the beauty that is Earth. Christopher captures this in such a way on his album Smoke and Origination that you may think it is a soundtrack to a Charlton Heston movie. The lonely and bleak sound of this disc makes me think of him wandering the streets trying to find another human being in existence. Composer Christopher manages to bring that world to life with lush orchestration and industrial beats that capture the essence of a stark cold world.
While this pessimistic view is not the type of music you are going to bring out at your next party, it is a work that will make you think as he sheds light on the darker side of humanity. Gripping and at times bombastic in its approach, this is an opus that took me a long time to even try to define. Each time I spun this disc the thunderous cornucopia of sound brings a new vision and awakens the senses in ways that I do believe he fully intended to stir. This is not an album of doom and gloom, it is an album designed to open the eyes of those who are willing to see. Or even more to the point, open the ears to those who are brave enough to hear.
I will never forget playing this disc while traveling through the deserted downtown section of Detroit and finding out how musically someone can paint a picture that is staring at me. This is an album about decay. It touches on the decomposition of the self, the spirit, the morality and the world around you. After talking to Christopher about his work and these discs, I have to believe that he is trying to reawaken that which is lacking on the planet today. If not reawaken then at least alert us to what is happening. In doing so, he has created a masterpiece that is a brooding, thought provoking work of musical genius.
Now we come to the companion work torched laughter. Christopher told me that he was going through a troubling time as he recorded Smoke and Origination and this is his catharsis of what was going on personally during that time.
When you listen to it, there is a sense of the micro version of the larger picture he was creating. Listening to him pour out what was going on individually paints a broad landscape of the whole mindset that created both works. The story within the story is as stirring and touches in a way that would not be there without the other disc.
I think of the old toys that my parents got for me, one which was a series of boxes that fit inside each other. You kept taking the lid off one to find another smaller box inside. That is what I felt with this CD. The feeling that you keep pulling off a lid to only find another box filled inside of it. You find that each box giving you a little more insight into the total picture as you delve deeper and deeper into the psyche of the man who created this dynamic work.
He might have a pessimistic view on these discs, but that is a product of environment. It isn't hard to be down on what is going on these days and toss in a little trauma in your personal life and you are not going to have the next party record, you will have just what is captured here, a true and honest introspective into the mind of its creator which touches on many aspects of life that most of us can relate to in our own worlds.
Music isn't always something to make you happy. There are times when the artist is trying to touch on other emotions and it is a truly enlightening moment when he or she succeeds. Christopher has done this and done this in a way that will keep touching you. Every time you put either of these discs on, there is going to be a moment when you stop and reflect on what you are hearing. There is going to be a moment when you look around and wonder just what is going on. There is going to be a moment when you are going to be glad that you have purchased these CDs and appreciate just what Christopher has accomplished here. Not only will you view your surroundings a bit differently, you will appreciate that new flower in your backyard or those happy moments spent with a loved one just a little bit more.
Smoke and Origination
1. The Summoning Vector
2. This Is Your Plague
3. Sunday Is Falling Apart
4. The Following Visual Is Staged
5. Spaghetti Terrorist
6. Sharp Knives
7. Frailty Scan
9. An Addendum
10. The Wraith's Progress
11. Derivative Hearts
1. jaw filled wreckage
2. the tilted figure
3. clockwork contaminate
4. evening flesh
5. finely tuned meat
6. another blue ribbon