Yes, your whole life is a film: The Everyday Film

13 marzo 2014 § Lascia un commento

You know that feeling you get when you’re huffing paint thinner while driving your salvaged 1978 Eldorado down a deserted desert highway in the Texas panhandle after murdering a family of five? Yeah, that sums this up fairly well.

(JFK112263, Last.fm user)

Beyond the nebula created by the first John Frusciante’s album, Mike Patton’s solo albums, Aphex Twin’s Gwarek2 and Diamanda Galás’ The Litanies Of Satan, supposedly or willingly unaware of what musical market offers, birth was given to The Everyday Film, one of the most obscure, original and eerie projects around. Aided by its founder’s persisting solipsism (still nothing is known about its creator), The Everyday Film seems to be born from two different persons, according to how kind the listener is: the most imprudent, superficial and unkind would see a serial killer in it; the kindest and wisest would see an autistic in it. Dealing with its albums is a little like dealing with David Lynch’s movies, up to the digital date and with no Badalamenti playing music in them. Comparing his work with a particular musical genre is impossible, but we may try, at least in an aptitude field, with grindcore, with which The Everyday Film’s albums shares not signs, sounds or instruments, but their fragmentary nature and short length, together with the manifest repulsion against everything representing or represented by music. There’s no room for muses, here.

houseIn December 2009, Assumed Makeup, The Everyday Film’s personal label, releases The House I Used To Turn Into, a possible concept album about a kidnapping, a manifesto as clear (the anti-Stendhal-syndrome of Beauty Sends Sufferers Into Convulsions) as green: 16 minutes and 16 seconds divided in 27 tracks, among allucinated (A New Class Of Paranoia), industrial (The Past Replayed For Someone Else), supernatural (The Boy In The Wall), non-sense (Thelk) and menacing performances (The Liability Room (The Cellar)) and dreamlike (The Model Home, Wick), apparently comforting interludes (Middle Class Leather or the 7-second Fenced In Laughter), sometimes also rhythmic and catchy (Record Breaking Coagulation). In this microcosm of microcosms, except for an ideal compromise between Aphex Twin and The Residents in the few seconds of My New Rates, tracing some musical influences is as impossible as finding a sense where each thing has as no sense as the others (“Keep your thoughts where I can see them”; “If I have a good funeral, I want this; if I have a bad funeral, I want this”).
Among these pieces of a broken mirror, The Sense Test would be like a miracle: when all the tracks are very rarely longer than a minute, the kidnapped begs for the kidnapper sparing his life, while the kidnapper makes a list of things he wants to or should do.

channelsIn 2010, three albums are released. In the first one, Broken Up Love Channels, The Everyday Film plays cat and mouse with its listener (like in opener First Sonar and closer Last Sonar) for 12 minutes and a half, divided in 24 tracks. More hermetic, more difficult to keep track of all the tracks, of our chaser’s delirium, of his mastery in using background noises, silences, rattles, dilated pauses. In this sea of negation, where logic and music are canceled and excluded and canceling and excluding each other, you’ve got only one thing to do: run, even if you’ll give in at the end. Not a remnant of catchiness to seize on, like in the three tracks called Fear Of Things Already Occurring.

cycleThe second 2010 release, The Cycle (24 tracks, 12 minutes and 17 seconds), is half-way between a greatest hits collection and a possible introduction to the new listener: not only some tunes from the past are presented in a different form (Budgeted Out The Perverted (What Really Happened), the Broken Up Love Channels-named tracks, the uncensored version of the instrumental Middle Class Leather), but the ingredients of The Everyday Film’ recipe are confirmed and room is allowed to some humour (the 18 seconds of silence in There Is Nothing Here) and more stratified, absurd, filtered and incomprehensible soliloquies.

patientsThe 26-second schizophrenic single Multiple Women announce the third schizophrenic 2010 release, the most “musical” and least “acted” of the three: Permanent Patients, 7 tracks, in 10 minutes, undecided if compressing themselves, like the single, or dilating themselves, like The Everyday Film, a business card, a summary of a career that the CD artwork advises us against listening to and that opens to new horizons: “My closet is bigger than your house, with really no way to get out. If you get this message, please come get me: I can’t get out.”

emotionsIn 2011, the two-minute single Emotional Margin Call, conceived with no rhythm section between Homework-era Daft Punk and Nine Inch Nails, discloses Festival Of Emotions, the fifth album, in which an apparently more sensitive person than it seemed in the past albums comes out. I think The Everyday Film is speaking, here and always in its own way, about love and relationships, something to harden your arteries with (You, The Entrance; You, The Exit), and Rug is even taken from the previous album (“If I knock at your door, don’t let me in: I’ll just bleed all ober your rug. No sex, no touching, just me dispensing.”) and everything is spiced up with some industrial watercolour and an unexpected funky grain. There’s also irony in the instrumental Vanity and in Scream All Day, a quasi ambient piece à la Another Green World-era Brian Eno.

gooolIn 2013, Goool, 3 minutes and 42 seconds “to keep you barking along” (cit.), and its video on YouTube, discloses two different versions of itself.
The extended 13-minute (!) version is on Goool EP, that is as long as an album and (no more) available only in digital format on iTunes and Amazon. The calm title-track soliloquy goes on along a gloomy heartbeat-like synthetic beat, among suppressed laughs, mouses clicking on the background, far away drones, the usual distorted vocals and a final limping-1920’s-tango-like “new song I wanted to play for you”. There’s not Ryoji Ikeda’s arithmetical surgery, there’s no Bernhard Günter’s “black on black canvas”, but just desolation, alienation and resignation. The equally calm b-sides, The Face Of Wait and The Bed Of That I Want, lasting around a minute each, bring some noise to the EP and complete an exercise in eccentricity that brings to mind Half Japanese’s Heaven Sent.
newskinwineThe shorter 2-minute-40-second version is, with other ten tracks, on New Skin Wine, possibly his masterpiece, presented on YouTube by the video The Guess. In this album, that lasts 22 minutes and is the longer release by The Everyday Film, sonic nightmares are longer and thinner, like the closer Unpronounceable Lover, and more elaborated and heterogeneous, like Want Cycles, with its synths screaming here like Diamanda Galás and scratching there like a broken LP and unsettle us in a different and unexpected way, different from what the first album did to us. The Everyday Film kept us waiting for two years, while refining its alphabet, searching deeper in itself and giving us deeper results. It was worth it, you can say it. Even at the cost of finding the same nothing seen outside.

More than four years passed since The Everyday Film’s first release, but still nothing is felt or known outside of the albums. Just a website, with no news, no layout, a letter that seems cutting and rebuilding itself up, a link to a video, everything written in black letters on white background. Far from treating this monograph like a news story or a bitter American Graffiti, I will try a giant leap. I may hurt myself, it may be a nice surprise as well, I may be risking everything as well as nothing, but it will be an experience to tell everybody, anyway it will end. Wait for me here while you close your curtains, wear your headphones, turn the lights off and listen to this theme. The words are blinking on the back of the bumper.

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