Various Artists - Don't Look Now: Aural Apparitions from the Geographic North
Geographic North present an expertly curated, horror-themed compilation of exclusive aces from Félicia Atkinson, Pinkcourtesyphone, Ka Baird, Suzanne Kraft, CV & JAB, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Eluvium, Clarice Jensen, Arp, Ilyas Ahmed, Algiers and many more, all right in time for Samhain 2018.
Mantled in reference to the seminal Nicolas Roeg flick, ‘Don’t Look Now’ (1973), Geographic North’s 2nd collection of Halloween music shares much in common with the titular film’s classical scenery and unsettling psychology, with each contributor preferring inference and shadowplay over anything explicitly gory or sh*t-the-bed scary.
Bookended by prologue and epilogue from Sweden’s Arp, the set runs to 21 pieces in total, amounting to induce a nervously furtive state of mind fleeting between clammy anxiety, pensive midnight romance, and unshakeable uncanniness. It’s testament to Geographic North’s fine-tuned ears that the whole thing works so well, holding our attention by a silk thread for its feature-length 90 minute duration.
Like a movie, it’s best consumed in one go, but it’s worth pointing to key scenes such as Ka Baird’s nest of shivering keys in ‘Clearing’, and the cool tension between spiralling rhythms and tranquil chords in Felicia Atkinson’s ‘Little Things’ as crucial to the sequence, especially when contrasted with the more dread-filled nooks such as Robert Donne’s crushing dedication to Mika Vainio in ‘Rakkauslaulu’, the carmine seep of Jefre Cantu-Ledesma’s viscous organ wooze in ‘O Virtus Sapiente’, and the starkly sepulchral dynamic of ’Stabbing’ by Suzanne Kraft.
For our money comps rarely work, but much like PAN’s Mono No Aware, Geographic North prove that with the right curation you can sometimes end up with something much more weighty then the sum of its parts, in this case an engrossing narrative full of darkness and light.