Art Abscons is a mysterious individual who adopts the persona of the Grandmaster Abscon for the purposes of composing and recording music. He’s been on MySpace for a couple of years now, but Spektral Magik is his first release to the world at large. It’s a peculiar concept album, perfectly formed, containing just seven tracks, labelled ‘Somnium pts I-VII’. I can guarantee that you will hear no other musician this year who names his influences as Death In June, Lee Hazlewood, French 60s Ye-Ye music, Picasso and Huysmans, amongst others.
‘Somnium pt II’ is like a lost Death In June track beaming in from a parallel universe – deep voice singing in German, breezy acoustic guitars, sparse rhythmic backdrop, orchestral strings, light percussion – and a beautiful chorus melody that lodges in your brain after just one listen. ‘Somnium pt IV’ has a relaxed jazzy swing rhythm, over which the Grandmaster recites poetry by Mallarme, with ethereal femme vocals from Vera W’r..H (sic), over a backdrop of organ, piano, acoustic guitar and drums. Final track ‘Somnium pt VII’ is an ambient tour de force, lasting almost 14 minutes, of drones, gregorian chants, distant choirs, spoken word vocals, backwards sounds and voices.
This is a stunning album, easily my favourite of the year so far. Now, you’re going to like this next bit. Spektral Magik is available as a free download on the ParaLucid netlabel, here.