Then It All Came Down/You've Always Meant So Much to Me

Then It All Came Down/You've Always Meant So Much to Me

by Wrekmeister Harmonies


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Then It All Came Down/You've Always Meant So Much to Me

Then It All Came Down is the second Thrill Jockey album from Wrekmeister Harmonies, the large musical ensemble assembled by JR Robinson. The title is taken from 1973 interview Truman Capote conducted with Bobby Beausoleil, the imprisoned musician, Aleister Crowley devotee, Charles Manson associate and killer. It is packaged here with its predecessor, 2013's You've Always Meant so Much to Me. Both works are single, half-hour-plus pieces. Each features players from Chicago's fertile music community. Among them are cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, harpist Chanel Pease, guitarist Ryley Walker, experimental artists such as Bruce Lamont, Sanford Parker, and members of Indian, Leviathan, and Codeine. The newer recording reflects what Robinson perceives is taking place in Capote's interview -- he wrote an essay about it -- on a larger cosmic scale, where angelic innocence can, with a slight change of angle, become Luciferian evil. At its beginning, innocence, light, and freedom are represented by loosely strummed guitars and a trio of female voices airily singing the words "Beautiful Sun" (the English translation of Beausoleil's name). Echo, space, and ambient sounds slowly enter the mix before a brooding sonic drone winds in followed by Lamont's subterranean, slowly-uttered, evil snarl, underscored by a cello. The shadowy tension is gradually ratcheted up as faux Gregorian vocals, black metal electric guitars, massive drums, strings, and electronics are added in and layered drones, dissonance and power riffs join a plunge into a metaphysical darkness that is as total as it is focused. The intensity is roiling and bleak, yet almost irresistibly beautiful in its power. When the work eventually re-enters quieter spaces amid strings, church organ and soft drones, it doesn't return to the light; it ends in total darkness. This is more than a little unsettling; it makes one question free will as an end in and of itself, without compassion's counterbalance. Then It All Came Down is a companion to (not an extension of) 2013's You've Always Meant so Much to Me. On the earlier album, many of the same players appear. Ambient drones eventually give way to crushing metallic guitar/bass/drum chaos, swirling strings, howling, deeply intoned wordless vocals and carefully sculpted cacophonous noise, before tearing themselves apart and becoming mere sonic threads of piano, harp, and organ entering into what is akin to a silence that is near ultimate. They reflect nature's power, its process of creation and self-destruction -- man's attempt at manipulating it with his constructions is only part of this play of majesty and annihilation. Taken together, these recordings embody an unflinching musical and philosophical vision; this view of decay, physical and spiritual, is not so much "hopeless" as it is sonic witness. Robinson doesn't judge. He creates music that receives, conceives and speaks. The listener decides what to do with the enormity of his demanding, artful, observations.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/21/2014
Label: Thrill Jockey
UPC: 0790377036022
catalogNumber: 360
Rank: 178135

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Wrekmeister Harmonies   Primary Artist
Chris Brokaw   Group Member
Fred Lonberg-Holm   Cello,Group Member
Julie Pomerleau   Viola
Solomon Snyder   Bass
Lindsay Anderson   Vocals
Noah Leger   Group Member
Bruce Lamont   Vocals,Group Member
Eric Chaleff   Group Member
Sanford Parker   electronics,Group Member
Jaime Fennelly   Harmonium,Group Member
Chanel Pease   Harp,Group Member
Solomon Walker   Group Member
J.R. Robinson   electronics,Group Member
Ron Defries   Group Member
Dylan O'Toole   Group Member
Wrest   Group Member
Mark Solotroff   electronics,Group Member
Billie Howard   Group Member
Andrew Markuszewski   Guitar
Ryley Walker   Group Member
Jef Whitehead   Drums
Lydia Lane Stout   Group Member
Kate Spelling   Group Member
Esther Shaw   Group Member
Anne Patterson   Group Member

Technical Credits

Sheila Sachs   Layout
Howard Bilerman   Engineer
Sanford Parker   Engineer
Chanel Pease   Engineer
Solomon Walker   Engineer
Wrekmeister Harmonies   Composer
J.R. Robinson   Arranger,Composer,Engineer
Wrest   Engineer
Simon Fowler   Artwork

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