The title of this collaborative release is functional rather than descriptive, but anyone with any pre-existing knowledge of these two artists will likely have a reasonable idea of what to expect. The fact the EP contains just two tracks and has a running time of just 10 minutes makes it more of a single release than an EP, but what it lacks in quantity it more than makes up in quality and atmosphere.
One song was written by each artist, then passed over to the other to complete. The end result is a mystical, spiritually rich work which resonates on deep, subconscious levels.
‘The Ferryman’ finds Jarboe whispering bleakly over a backing of a rich, haunting harmony of her own making, while the sparse acoustic-based instrumentation plods and trudges in a repetitive and lugubrious motif. It calls to mind two songs by Swans, namely ‘Failure’ and ‘My Buried Child’.
‘Truth or Consequences’ begins with gnarly mesh of noise before a stark, melancholy piano, underpinned by a ponderous, resonant bass and the occasional rumble of thunder gradually mutates into a trilling organ which imbues Jarboe’s quavering, otherworldly vocal with religious overtones. The layered male vocal harmonies heighten the effect.
The blurb which accompanies the release explains that ‘The “Jarboe & Father Murphy EP” was mastered by an infamous engineer, Davide Cristiani at Bombanella soundscapes studio in Italy, using a technique he calls “anti-mastering” whereby he irradiates the analogue master with deep, pure 432hz sounds in a process that somehow gives the master the same benefits than a defragmentation does to a hard disk. It works the sounds together in harmony, the result being much brighter and more real, which is very befitting to the release.’
And yet this sense of the real is also strangely intangible: the sonic reality is more akin to an extremely vivid dream than the concrete reality of the waking world.