The World Is A Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid To Die have never been a band afraid to push the envelope. Even their very name seems a challenge to the listener, an obstacle of sorts to overcome as a way to gain a greater appreciation for the music produced under the moniker. With their third LP Always Foreign on the not-so-distant horizon, I was encouraged to go back and explore Between Bodies, the band’s 2014 EP/mini-album. A collaborative project with spoken word poet Chriss Zizzamia, it’s a release differing from the string of EP’s and splits that preceded it, an experimental sort of project which is notably arty. Sprawling vistas of sound beautifully complement Zizzamia’s expressive beat-poetry, which fizzes atop the soundscape with projected majesty.
It’s a record brimming with raw emotion, Zizzamia a compelling narrator as he ponders existentialism and mortality. He’s a spoken word poet who finds poignancy in his craft and passionate in his delivery. Sometimes he does detract from the instrumental side of the record, which is akin to bands like Sigur Ros, often quite soft and stylistically space-age. The contrasting dynamic isn’t always as effective as it could be, but it’s a collaboration which, for the most part, works – an imperfect union. The tracks here, be them short or long, are all given room to grow, to develop and expand, guitars like stars amongst a black backdrop dark as the records cover, Zizziami sometimes as blue as the record itself. It aims at spectral life affirmation, and when I devote myself to the ebb and flow of the record it comes pretty close. I can get sucked into Between Bodies in a way I struggle to with many other records. It’s immersive, melancholic and meandering, but its impact is all the greater for the approach it takes.
Released: 2014 Label: Broken Home Media
Variant: 1st press /1000 Purchased From: Monkey Boy Records
I like to listen to Between Bodies when I’m travelling by plane, letting the digital version of the record spark in my earphones as the clouds pass in a white haze below. It’s an adrenaline kick, getting as close as possible to the stratosphere that seems to inform the lyrically and instrumental focus of the record. When If & When I Die gets particularly contemplative it seems fitting to see the stretch of the horizon as the sun reaches out over the fields, the plane dipping below clouds which mask some of the glare. Between Bodies, regardless of where it’s played, is a record that gives me goosebumps, time after time. Second-half tracks Shoppers Beef and Autotonsorialist thrill time after time, their perspective encouraging similar perspectives, the energy they slowly pulse with flickers of introspective life. It gets to me in a way that music of this nature often does. It makes me think, and it makes me feel. My own internal workings are given some clarity as emotional triggers are pushed with delicately ambient strands of sound. I am aware that I am alive; that I am experiencing something, and the transience of that feeling lends it all the more importance.