Review Summary: A conceptual EP that flies true and hits its target.
The way that Men of the Cloth
’s concept is essential to its composition can be seen in the actual structure of its samples; the short introductory track ‘The Arrow Leaves the Bow’ has a waveform that is actually in the shape of an arrow, and thus gives the album that tiny bit of authenticity that tops off a remarkably well executed story.
The three tracks of the short EP follow the assassination of a priest, from the moment the arrow leaves its bow to the moment the priest hits the ground, and the few moments in between are slowed down to a crawling pace, in which experimental/avant-garde project Catfight on a Hotdog articulate the event through the use and layering of various samples. The brunt of the EP’s musical force rests on the middle track, ‘The Arrow Reaches Its Target’, a thirteen minute piece which is structured around the conceptual arrow’s impact and the priest’s subsequent death.
One unique aspect pertaining to this brand of experimental music is that Catfight on a Hotdog make a point of completely altering the sound files they use, as well as incorporating originally recorded pieces that add a much welcomed personal touch to the music; the first few minutes of ‘The Arrow Reaches Its Target’ is an entirely organic soundscape, the gentle sounds of the waves rolling onto the shore being recorded simply for the particular purpose of adding to the EP’s concept.
Following this almost meditative calm, the track weaves in and out of ethereal moods, the process of time being slowed encapsulated by a scratching sound which persists throughout the song’s build up of noise. Although being a very imaginable notion, the whole idea of slowing down time and then expressing it purely through a believable expression of sampled music is one of the strengths that Men of the Cloth
has; the way that it almost feels like a bubble has enveloped the images in your mind, where every movement is viewed in slow motion, leaves little to be desired in regards to the album’s structure and its method of driving the concept.
The highlight of the EP comes in the third and final track ‘The Number Thirteen Looks Skywards’; conceptually it represents the chaotic moments after the assassination, where those around this particular priest react to what has happened. A slow and somewhat mournful piano melody plays over the ensuing madness of noise, eventually fading and leaving naught but frenzied sound.
To be blunt, Men of the Cloth
won’t wow you with highly technical mixing or musical execution; it’s a purely artistic experience, and its story gives it far more appeal than it would have had as simply a mixture of samples. So, sit back, close your eyes, and watch the scene unfold.
Thematically it is the idea of an assassination of a priest.
The first track represents the arrow/bullet/schooner-glass flying through the air. The moment that time slows down and everything becomes a buzz.
The second track is the actual impact. Time further slowing down to an almost stop, like you're underwater and struggling to even turn your head. It’s the last bit of relief the person gets before they die.
The final track is the pandemonium when everyone realises what's happened and the body hits the ground. It’s meant to be beautiful also as it’s the culmination of the culprit's work.