Mortuus Auris & The Black Hand – Cinjusti

(self-released, 2017)

Cinjusti’s “Disfigured” begins like a Wolf Eyes crawl, slow 4/4 pulse heralding some kind of dread to come. But this suggestion is short-lived, as sparkling, minor-key synthesizers wash over the pulse like the tide on a rocky shore. It plays like the peaceful aftermath of a tragedy, the title of the piece contradicting the mood; and maybe the rocks the tide washes over are actually bodies in the sand, or maybe the whole thing is a reflection of inner, personal trauma that simply feels like raw wounds in need of scar tissue following emotional combat. Whatever the aim of the composition, its presence filters throughout the rest of Cinjusti, marking an entry point for, if not interpretation, at least conceptualization for the listener.

The record is thus cast in a light of healing. Peter Taylor, the man behind Mortuus Auris & The Black Hand, transposes the final “c” in the word “injustice” and drops the silent “e,” coming up with a certainly more abstract bit of language for his title. But doing so suggests that he’s endeavoring to transpose the idea of injustice itself into, not necessarily justice, its opposite, but at least something different, something that’s less disagreeable, maybe something new, something … CInjusti. We can apply that idea and the excitement of invention to ourselves as we ingest the music, letting discovery run its course through new adventures in sonics.

Tracks like “Electric Mooncup” hint at transcendence, transformation, tranquility – other “t” words probably – as do “Film of Light” and “Narmer in Analogue.” Taylor’s got us all in the palm of his hand here, as he’s able to manipulate the mood, and we’re hanging on his every note, his every tone, as if it’s some secret that’s being revealed about ourselves or the world. Nothing does this better than “Ancestor Vision,” which stretches fifteen and a half minutes and shifts from the serene to the angelic to the somewhat unsettled, as if dwelling on our pasts for too long unearths truths that we’d rather not confront. But we have to confront them if we want to move forward, and the track ends on what sounds like a strummed instrument and a xylophone playing in harmony on their own, as if the entirety of “Ancestor Vision” served as the birth of a new identity. “A Farewell to Alms” continues this idea, ending the album on a short piano piece – melancholy, yes, but aware of itself and its transitory nature, reluctantly, perhaps, ready to move on to a new landscape.

Cinjusti is a gorgeous handmade CDr in an edition of ten, and as of this writing, only two remain. Hopefully there will be a growing clamor for a reissue. Comes in recycled cardboard with a b/w photo.

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