Guy Hobsbawm, the new alias of Gunnar Haslam, offers Mysteries a debut LP that is perfectly tailored to the times. Communes Qui Poussent Comme Des Champignons Après Le Déluge, which literally translates to ‘communes that grew like mushrooms after the flood’, is sparse and cinematic: an ideal score to any dystopian film. Except “dystopia” denotes an imaginary or speculative scenario, and what Hobsbawm has created is a natural reaction to the current global crisis as it relates to the past. In his own words, the title “pictures the flood of hunger, economic depression, and wide-scale political instability that was the background of 1848, draws links to the coming flood of 2020, and (tries to) imagine a brighter future of communes growing like mushrooms.”
The conceptual framework of 1848 and the ideologies of Louis-Auguste Blanqui, serves to mold the sonic landscape. In these pieces, there’s a focus on absence rather than presence. Sparse, long-form arrangements, like “Blanquistes du Nil” and the cricket-laden “Exil au Serir” seem to conjure a world in which the earth has supplanted man, or moved on without him. Many of these tracks make use of natural instrumentation and field recordings taken by Hobsbawm in North Africa and Mexico, to haunting effect. The lapping water and creaking wood in “Palermo, June 1848” suggest the residue of a flood, thereby linking the sonic to the conceptual. The final track, “Fustat,” which builds tension through metallic clangs and a Japanese sho, is an homage to Iannis Xenakis, the pioneering Greek-French composer. Guy Hobsbawm has taken the strange predicament of our global climate and created a cohesive album that represents the despair of the present — while connecting it to the past. The result is a landscape that is both foreign and familiar: a sonic paradox that represents the recurrence of a dark history. And yet within this, there is a glimmer of hope for a different future.
Mastered by Rafael Anton Irisarri at Black Knoll Studio NY
Cover Artwork by Maya Rossignac-Milon
Words by Taylor Bratches
Worldwide Distribution: wordandsound → what people play
© Mysteries of the Deep