If you have read many of my reviews, you may be aware that I have sleep deprived nights, in which I tend to stick my earphones in and listen to something that I am listening to for review (that or Type O Negative). With the more experimental/art rock albums, they tend to suit that time of night. However, The Mortlake Bookclub have managed to create something that completely warps your head at 3am like a really bad trip, to the point that I jumped and threw my earphones on the floor. I love it!
Now, before you start reading this hoping to discover some catchy new songs for your playlists, that is far from what The Mortlake Bookclub is about. This is a collective of music averaging over 10 minutes per track of, what really would perfectly fit as an atmospheric soundtrack. To put into perspective, I will momentarily side step from actually reviewing this.
So, I was asked to listen to their two albums; Exquisite Corpse and Mysteriorum Libri Quinque. Both of these follow the same creative process, which is each member of the band starts a track, which is then sent to the other three members of the band. They will individually devise and record their own addition without hearing any further contribution, and then the original creator will work all or the recordings together. A very interesting and unique concept. All members work on similar, yet completely different musical projects ranging from acoustic and contemporary to analogue synth and horror/drone. All of their individual styles basically form what is The Mortlake Bookclub.
Back to these albums, I am reviewing both combined as, well, I would end up writing basically the same thing for both, and it is probably easier to review them as a whole project at this point.
As previously mentioned, the music that The Mortlake Bookclub create is extremely atmospheric, strung out pieces of audio. There are no melodies or rhythms, and for the most part everything is carefully blended into one long piece. There are moments on Exquisite Corpse with vocal work that sounds straight out of a distilling horror movie scene, then again all of their work could be described the same way.
Of the two, Mysteriorum Libri Quinque is the more varied, and bizarre, of the two releases. Bound In Human Flesh possibly stood out the most for me, if not for it’s most extreme length, but the different sounds and effects have much more of a presence about them.
It is difficult to say who this would appeal to, I for one couldn’t really imagine myself in a scenario of being in the mood to listen to something like this. It has a feeling of being best suited as background music, but I feel to appreciate it for all that there is, you need to really pay attention to what is going on. In one respect I feel like there is an element missing that would make it much more listenable, yet equally I find the music quite powerful as it is. But then, The Mortlake Bookclub aren’t about the melody or following a song structure, they create music that is contemporary, improvised and unique. If anything I would say that intrigue is what will draw you to these albums, and with the ability to listen before you buy in Bandcamp, there’s nothing stopping you from seeing what it is all about. For the full experience of Mysteriorum Libri Quinque, you will want to purchase the CD for the enclosed story.
Jake Hancke – 12/06/2017
Exquisite Corpse and Mysteriorum Libri Quinque are available to buy now on Bandcamp.
You can find more on The Mortlake Bookclub on Facebook.