Drew Mulholland’s Messer’s Circulating Library, the latest release from Tom McDowell’s Library of the Occult record label, is quite unlike anything that’s come from the label. Melodic-driven songs are replaced by winding, drone-driven long form works that sound and feel more like traveling through dimensions and realities. Industrial swirls and resonating machinations give the impression of slipping through time and space. Or spectral places and beings morphing into our own existence for the amount of time it takes us to explore them. It’s a hallucinogenic dream time of an album that slips back and forth from hypnotic and exotic, sometimes swirling both together like a wisp of ectoplasmic smoke.
Here’s what Mulholland said about Messer’s Circulating Library:
The impetus for this one came from memories of my aunt Nan and how she would take me to this weird shop across from her kitchen window. It was part library, part tobacconist, and part second hand book shop. We would sit in her kitchen afterwards drinking coffee and smoking her sterling cigarettes. (I was 13!). I’ll never forget when she bought Peter Haining’s paperback of The History Of Witchcraft with Jan Parker’s terrifying paintings.
These tracks convey the mystery and amazement that a young teen might pull from such a strange and fantastical shop. Pieces like “Frozen Sound in Ember”, “Synthemec”, and “Fierce Chemistry” are less about conveying nostalgia for a time and place, and more about conveying the magic and chill that those places brought. These pieces sound more of drones and white noise that emanates from ones own mind while taking in a room filled with mystery and intrigue. You can almost feel the draft and smell the varieties of tobacco as you sit and soak in the 9 minute “A Shadowy Line Ov Ectoplasm”. You can nearly touch the weathered leather bound spines of those books on the wall as the tinny whines of “French Rhythms” wrap its sonic tentacles around your mind.
Messer’s Circulating Library is a visceral experience. There aren’t melody-lined roads to take you back to simpler times and to experience a child’s summer day experiences. Though this is also not a nightmare tome of jagged drones and make-believe horrors. It’s a wash of sonic whispers and metallic shades of memories, easing down on us like a low fog on a pre-dusk walk. A walk across the street to a shop filled with books, tobacco, and something not quite of this earth.
At least as far as we can recollect.
7.8 out of 10
Drew Mulholland’s ‘Messer’s Circulating Library’ is available now via Library of the Occult.