Of Mary's Blood (Part One of a Trilogy)


1995 debut by Graham Bowers (1943-2015). "While on the surface of things, there is nothing previously unheard on Graham Bowers's triptych of Of Mary's Blood (1995), Transgression (RWCD 002CD, 1997), and Eternal Ghosts (RWCD 003CD, 1998), it is its profound effect on the psyche that makes it truly unique. As a matter of fact, when Of Mary's Blood came out in 1995, it looked like experimental music had a new figurehead. There was not one mag in the scene that could afford itself the luxury of not featuring it and all that did were hard-pressed to put their feelings into words. Which is easy to understand. Still today, Of Mary's Blood, a three-quarters-of-an-hour-long trip into Bowers's head, leaves one baffled and awestruck. Divided into three segments, 'Always was,' 'Always is,' and 'Always shall be,' this composition sails away on a wing and a whisper into an unsettling terra incognita: a grayish drone, like the wind intermittently touching a cymbal, greets the listener, as do the sounds of cars speeding by and of a railway crossing in the glaring heat. Thick machine sounds build up, a street scene on a blue-skied afternoon, frenzied voices and wailing noises dissolve into almost jungle-like atmospheres and suddenly, after almost ten minutes, there is this melody full of sorrow and despair that braces itself like a cloud of dust over the smoldering embers of a pitch-black apocalyptic scrapyard. A finale with clustered chords by an untuned piano and bizarre orchestral samples take control again. Even the extracts on Bower's homepage can only hint at what to expect here, which may well be a reason why, even despite the raving reviews, this was not exactly an instant smash-hit. But the difference between the often random and somehow caricaturesque offerings by some post-industrial sound artists and this flowing, seamless composition without an ounce of slack and a gripping compulsion could not be more apparent. Of course it's dark ambient, drones, the avant-garde, free jazz, industrial, cut-up, and electronica all blended into one all-encompassing cross-over spectacular. But then again, it's none of these as well. The mind can only take you to so many places and it is music like Of Mary's Blood that extends the limits of your creativity to unknown heights" --Tobias Fischer. CD accompanied by a fold-out booklet containing the associated artworks painted by Graham Bowers.