Mudboy – Night Eyes

(Ehse, 2017)

Turns out Will Smith was right. The erstwhile Fresh Prince detailed the saga of every suburban kid growing up in the late 1980s/early 1990s on “Nightmare on My Street,” underscoring the idea that Freddy Krueger was out to get pretty much everybody at any time. I mean, “My Street” could actually be my street, for crying out loud! Not to be outdone, mudboy, the reclusive Providence, Rhode Island, musician known for his freak-folk and psychedelic analog keyboard excursions, decamped to Dortmund, Germany, specifically to mess around with an old pipe organ. Sounds like a total non sequitur, doesn’t it? But you’d be wrong – mudboy converted that old beast into a bitchin’ electroacoustic instrument, and, taking cues from the soundtrack to Wes Craven’s 1984 horror classic, crafted an homage to old Knifey-Hands himself. Yes, themes from Nightmare on Elm Street show up in the slow-burn suspense-fest that is Night Eyes, and you’d be hard pressed to finish this thing without shaking in the terror it instills ever so efficiently throughout its runtime. Side A is clear pipe organ madness, with voices and emergency-vehicle sirens splitting the night, presumably rushing to the latest crime scene of murder in one’s sleep. Side B is pure, unadulterated horror – at least at first. Blasts of noise – similar in pace and gravity to the Inception bwoms – overwhelm, covering heavily treated screams. I, in my pajamas, can only look out my front door in my idyllic suburban environment as police and ambulances race past, intent on doing whatever they can – although it’s way too late to thwart anything – to help the victims. Or, actually, to console the victims’ families. What a downer! But hey, that’s what Nightmare on Elm Street was, the idea a downer but presented as a fun, suspenseful package. Did it ever deliver! As solace, we get the last quarter of Night Eyes, contemplative, pretty organ, and a sense that everything is going to go back to normal and nothing can ever really affect us, you know, it’s always somebody else. But what’s that – distant sirens? I thought we were past this! Gotta stay awake, gotta stay awake…

Thanks a lot, mudboy. Now I’m never gonna be able to drift off.

Final note: the limited edition vinyl “pressing features hand numbered silver silkscreen covers with eyeholes burned through it, a large 23″ x 34″ newsprint poster, and an elaborate monograph by the artist on the subject of dreams and the uncanny in sound.” That sounds pretty awesome. You should get one while they last.

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