Jessica in the Room of Lights
Forced Nostalgia's sixth release imposes the uncannily affective melancholia of John Avery's 1986 soundtrack to a theater performance Jessica in the Room of Lights by the coincidentally-named Forced Entertainment company. Avery employs piano, synth, tape and FX in chillingly purposeful union to reflect the piece's storyline, itself centered around a cinema usherette for whom the lines between fiction and reality become blurred, and its intertwined themes of failed romance and the infidelity of memory. It's a largely-unknown yet spellbinding touchstone in the canon of Sheffield's industrial music heritage, coming from a latter-day member of Hula, the steel city unit based at Hula Kula -- a villa shared with various notables such as Stephen Mallinder of Cabaret Voltaire and Clock DVA's Paul Widger. Recording at Sheffield's Vibrasound studios, Avery casts a lonely shadow from solemn solo piano figures, mottled electronics, and Spanish and fretless guitars, layering possessed chants and disembodied voices amongst the gauzy atmospheres in an unheimlich narrative miasma, crawling thru the ether-dream ambience of "Do This to Another Human Being" across the desolate tract of "Selling Plastic" to the melodic salvation of the title-track, looping a chilling synth hook to the bewitching vocals of Catherine Naden. But it's a brief window of light, preparing us for the sepulchral descent into "Zero, Zero One, Zero One, Zero One" and the windswept moorland isolation of "The Day Serenity Returned to the Ground," to leave us with the plaintive and emotional piano articulation of "Almost." John Avery: multi-loop, piano, synthesizers, tape-collage, programs, freezes, Spanish & fretless guitars, devices and mix. Vinyl cut by Lupo at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin and limited to 500 copies.