Norway - Full Moon 82 - 06/14/03
One Night I Had A Frightful Dream, A Tribute To H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937)
September Gurls Records / Crawling Chaos/SHiT Tapes
Famlende Forsøk's first cassette album way back in 1984 included a track called Chtulhu.
The band's fascination for the American horror etc. writer Howard Phillips Lovecraft was profound
even then and not too long after there were rumours of a Lovecraft project. At a festival in 1990
they presented an entire Lovecraft show, surrounded by paintings of strange, ancient and horrible
creatures dimly lit by flickering candlelight. I expected the Lovecraft album to follow soon after.
And here it is! The LP-version includes ten tracks, the CD two more.
I'm no expert on H.P. Lovecraft, by far, having only read the first of three volumes of his
best stories (the Omnibus series). At least I know he was obsessed with fears and dreams, the
latter both of the harsh, horrible and beautiful kind. As quoted here:
'The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear.
And the oldest and strongest fear is fear of the unknown'. Which I guess might be a proper
short version to describe his literary work. Not the easiest kind of literature to put music to.
Well, what kind of literature might be?
Famlende Forsøk is a melting pot of Brt's voice and sounds both strange and pretty created
by Chrisph and Lumpy Davy: electronics, harmonium, piano, guitar, bass, saxophone, trumpet... And
some guest strings, flutes and percussion. There are few real melodies here, mostly mere moods.
The music is not as harsh as could be expected. The band members state the album would've been
far more extreme had it been finished ten years ago. "The Dunwich Horror" for instance, sounds
melancholic and not very horrible. Other tracks like the latter half of "The Call Of Cthulhu",
"The Shadow Over Innsmouth" and "Nyarlathotep" will not work as your average lullaby, though
they're still somehow controlled. "The Gardens Of Yin" seems to be a place worth yearning for,
beautiful and sad. "At The Mountains Of Madness" is about some men discovering the remains of an
ancient civilisation in the Antarctic, not quite extinct... It's the most ritual track of the lot
along with "The Festival". With congas, viola, flutes etc. the latter create a feast of some
primitive beasts not of the face of this earth.
Famlende Forsøk has been permitted to use excerpts from Lovecraft's original stories
and letters. At first I found Brt's recitations with an unmistakable Norwegian accent a bit annoying.
After a few spins it seems to add an exotic dimension to the plot, especially to the non-Norwegian
listeners I suspect. Although the album might have lost some of the unfathomable frights or stenches
of slimy monsters that the project maybe originally included, it's still haunting. The album is an
acquired taste. It lacks the humorous elements that make several of Famlende Forsøk's other
recordings easier accessible. Though if you're into classic horror literature and enjoy electronic
experiments coupled with acoustic and a few electric instruments, you need not look any further.
At the end Brt warns against the writings of that pale, sickly man from Providence, Rhode Island:
'Withdraw your soul while you still can!' For me
it's too late. After being drawn into the album, it made me seek out the second and third volumes
of Lovecraft's Omnibus series, the best recommendation I can possibly give.
'One night I had a frightful dream in which I met my
grandmother under the sea...'
Contact September Gurls Records for getting
hold of the LP. Or; Crawling Chaos/SHiT Tapes for buying the
Copyright © 2003 JP