Secret Chiefs 3 – The Electromagnetic Azoth – The Left Hand of Nothingness
By Marshall Thorne Sunday, 22 Apr 2007

This is the first of many 7 inches set to be released by SC3 this year. Limited to 1000 copies each, these recordings will never be released on CD aside from one or two alternate versions. As of this review, they have only been available at live shows excluding eBay auctions ending at over 4 times the “retail” value, which demonstrates the level of fanaticism select listeners of Mr. Trey Spruance’s projects are infected with.

In the artist’s words, “We seek to respect and promote the 7″ medium as never before! So no, the material here is anything but ‘throwaway’, as sometimes is the prevailing habit.” I’ve found his evaluation to be entirely correct… these records are not cheap ($9 each for 2 songs, $23 for a set of 3), but the artwork is beautiful and the vinyl is solidly made. Happily, the musical content is also indeed far from being “throwaway”!

Side A –
Inside The Left Hand of Nothingness

Even if Mr. Trey is one of my very favorite living musicians, I can’t say I have more than a vague understand of the underlying concepts behind his work. Anyone reading will have to accept two quotes as my best guess towards describing The Left Hand of Nothingness. “God is not nothing, he simply is the all seeing no-thing. A hidden force is in the rays of His hand & by the strength of this hand He has founded the Earth. Satan is the ‘Form of a Hand’ that comes from the north and is placed at the left. It’s many messengers are an evil, evil urge that brings guilt and chaos.” (kindly shared by a knowledgeable person on mimicry’s message board)

I’m also reminded of a line from Hypostasis of the Archons: “these mortifyers sucked dry by the Druj (error/deception) of their own cryptotheocratic nightmares.” This effect is something I imagine to be a result of the subject matter at hand.

Certainly, the music would be at home in a (top quality) horror soundtrack. Although a latter section takes the reflective sub-band UR’s surf style and applies it to a excerpt remix of “The End Times” from the aforementioned BoH, it is promptly interrupted by an intense microtonal violin swell and crashing arpeggio.

UR - Halloween coverinside UR - Halloween

If you haven’t already gathered it from context, this is a surf remix of John Carpenter’s classic “Halloween” movie theme from 1979. Although the vehicle is pleasantly different, the composition remains the same for the most part. The primary strength of this offering lies in the top notch production quality Spruance is capable of. If you think you could enjoy a creepy surf song, this remix should be very appealing.

Let me recite some words from a producer who worked on the original film in an attempt to demonstrate why this might be the B-side to such an A-side. “The idea was that you couldn’t kill evil, and that was how we came about the story. We went back to the old idea of Samhain, that Halloween was the night where all the souls are let out to wreak havoc on the living, and then came up with the story about the most evil kid who ever lived. And when John came up with this fable of a town with a dark secret of someone who once lived there, and now that evil has come back, that’s what made HALLOWEEN work. We didn’t want it to be gory. We wanted it to be like a jack-in-the box.”

It’s really hard for a fan like me not to give classic ratings. Maybe the format chosen for this project is well enough indication, but I just don’t think these first records are easily accessible to a large current audience. Nevertheless, this particular slab should be extremely enjoyable for all SC3 and horror fans.

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