Geoffrey Sexton – 197 black pendulums / athousand rattlesnakes in the trees C33 (Hooker Vision)

by mrdpetri

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Geoffrey Sexton is a video and audio artist grown in Tennessee and now situated in Los Angeles, California, who has been publishing his video experiments in abstraction through his Univers/Elementum label since year 2009. The audio element of his beautifully-lush-with-aesthetics-of-decay video works has included music by Clearing, Sparkling Wide Pressure, Pink Priest, Lee Noble, Horsehair Everywhere, Coupler, Trabajo. He has released a few of these short musicfilms in gorgeously packaged limited quantity 3” dvdr pressings in partnership with friend label Kimberly Dawn, and also self-released a full length film on dvdr in a slim full size dvd case which is also slickly packaged. These are all wonderful documents of visual and aural textures, often featuring decaying matter; rust, grime, filth, colorful fungus, crumbling buildings, etc. He includes in his dense, intricately layered video work most anything that has a colorful, textured surface. His video work is obsessively of this deep-seated tactile nature, as is his audio work on his own and with The Old Rig and Horsehair Everywhere. It seems he claws at these colors and textures through his creative work, trying to break through the finest fibers of the reality they represent to him, seeking the gush-through of secrets beyond the threshold? There is also rumination, poetry, and dancing in the images, which displays and discusses the many facets about which he is fascinated. His work has deepened in complexity and adeptness of editing/visioneering over the last few years, and the direction he is moving in proves to be more interesting with each deposit.

The present tape, one of a 6 tape batch from Hooker Vision all having a sort of classic black and white xeroxed artwork of collaged/torn paper elements, was my second favorite of the 6 – my favorite being The Kevin Kostner Suicide Pact. That was a good one. Yes sir that was a good one right there.

The present tape, previously described as second favorite (though excellent), is of two side-long pieces:

Side A – “197 black pendulums”

…is a slow building tide of grim and oppressive tension, beginning and ending with oddly metallic plinks resembling the highest keys of a tuneless toy piano, or the tiny segment of strings of a guitar between the bridge and tailpiece – and this guitar would be a pretty junky acoustic one to make this harsh of a sound. It’s sort of violent and cold feeling; disinterested, automatic, like rain drops. There’s a vague similarity to the feel of some of Glenn Branca’s music. The restless din builds slowly, eventually holds at an anxious plateau that shifts and undulates like windblown sand, though the sound here is more like an ocean of metal parts and stretched wires of different thicknesses all rubbing against each other like glacier walls. There is a low droning pitch in the din that wobbles and changes forms, but for the most part it remains constant, with refracting tonal dissonances and consonances taking place in higher registers. Chords of various colour are formed and disappear in this chorus of slow motion bomb siren wails. Eventually the glacier-ocean of ancient metals melts away again revealing bare the aforementioned plinking raindrop soundform, which is abruptly stopped in its shallow pool of visceral earthtone reverb.

Side B – “athousand rattlesnakes in the trees”

…is, when taken at face value, decidedly more bleak than side A, and to me continues to be comparable to and/or influenced by some of Glenn Branca’s work with tons of alternately tuned, detuned, prepared, and treated guitars, or some of Sonic Youth’s weirder atonal segments (“Lee is free”) from Confusion is Sex/Kill Yr. Idols. This is all of an other-worldly, dramatic strangeness that I love; reminding me of Tarkovsky’s Solaris, of drooping plantlife and deferred contentment seen and felt during obligatory vehicle-driving on grim rainy mornings.

I guess what I glean from this release, and all of Geoffrey’s work so far is predominantly an awareness of mortality; of “all things must pass”. One day all of the structures and fancy objects around us will be strewn in heaps, covered in cobwebs, rust and fungus; far away from any cleanliness, vibrance and functionality we see in all of it as we’re living presently. This is an existentialism I feel from these composed sounds; speaking of the breakdown and digestion of the present into some future which will then become a distant past known only through relics. I feel there to be too much wonder in it to think it’s nihilistic, but a lot of it is dark, which directs me toward thoughts of death or at least impermanence of vibrancy. In his audio work and more prevalently in his video work he seems to be honing in on and strengthening a subliminal signal, something like the hidden signal of Videodrome, but not sinister. This signal is of the ineffable insights of fungi, sediment, stones, time-coagulated matter, elements in phases of breakdown and reformation.

http://geoffreysexton.bandcamp.com

http://www.univers-elementum.com/

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