Typhoon (USA-OR)
Offerings


4.0
excellent

Review

by house cat CONTRIBUTOR (71 Reviews)
January 12th, 2018 | 52 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: the one with the man who spends an entire record drowning

Federico Fellini’s 1963 film, 8½, is about boundaries. Boundaries between success and sadness, pain and pleasure, and -- most importantly -- between fact and falsehood. The former distinctions seem to rely on the tangibility of the latter: should the lines between reality and fiction blur, one may err to the extremes. The only place one finds stability once parameters wash away with the tide is the past -- in memories, in scripts already written; you can’t lose your footing if you already know the terrain. At one point in the movie, the protagonist, Guido, is approached by a clairvoyant who, upon reading his mind, scratches the phrase “Asa Nisi Masa” on her blackboard.

Fellini’s hollowed-out protagonist and Kyle Morton's unnamed character are, by the curse of a mutinous psyche, eerily similar. Both have the same trigger, and by extension, the same lynchpin. Wake, the first song (or prologue -- more apposite a term here than most records) on Typhoon’s Offerings, appropriates the phrase “Asa Nisi Masa” with a gut-wrenching desperation, the unnamed protagonist repeating it as though he’s trying to keep sand from slipping through his fingers. “Wake” is not meant literally; it’s a realisation, sudden and frightening, that the mind has crossed the finish line and is now ambling aimlessly in the beyond. Reality is paused, faces turn blank, one is “reborn” as a blank slate with nothing to recall, nothing to base their decisions or emotions on. So, as our unreliable narrator (voiced by Morton) shouts himself hoarse on the phrase, his mind is set into an irreversible cycle of deterioration and belated reaction times.

The thing about motifs is that they are meant to be repurposed. As Morton so clearly understands, there’s little point in expounding the same iteration of the same idea, especially when the character you write struggles with the very notion of consistency. In Empiricist, you hear it -- murmured faintly in the background, behind a withdrawn acoustic guitar. The folk ensemble gradually fades in, the kick-snare pattern rustles until the music is rid of dust, lending urgency to the drone of the violins. Once more, the phrase is dragging the protagonist back into the pages of an old photo album. This time around, there is a bittersweetness so palpable it catches between the teeth: the idea of rebirth, of “hands reaching up”, should signal hope and only hope, but instead the neuroses of memory loss is superimposed over the image, sullying it. Like spilt ink on a map.

The doggedness of this “stress and strife”, as NPR’s Bob Boilen writes, is impossible to escape and equally so to cope with. Offerings, in its darkest moments, dissolves into a dreamscape. The record at times adopts that lo-fi sheen, where the relationship between sonic palette and subject matter grows stronger. It creates a place for the protagonist to disappear into, while the audience is confronted with the bitter truth -- like studying the ghost of a smile on a dead man’s face. Algernon is a perspective only we can see the sadness in, possessed by the spirit of an old, lonely piano; sparse notes drifting further away from the shore. ”The part of you that I love is still in there, even if it doesn’t know my name”, is a fucking heartbreaking line -- one that I’m sure will be touched on by every other idiot attempting to tackle this album’s theme -- and behind it whispers the creak of some long-abandoned porch chair. How do you represent absence without the pain of confrontation" Typhoon have an eye for detail that their protagonist most certainly does not.

Eventually, the confrontation occurs, and it’s as ugly and austere as whatever the first half of the record prepares us for. I believe it begins with Darker, an exasperated plea (“you won’t even fight me fair”). No, focus a little more, narrow the margins; it begins with the lyric: ”Yes, I’m ready to die”. Are concept albums not meant to resolve" To assuage their melancholy with a message tailored to, and implying, a future" This one doesn’t because the future, wayward, has gone the same direction as the past, and this sense of darkness and decay is invoked wonderfully in the sounds that inundate Morton’s fragile narrative. The strings play out like strikes of lightning across an ashen sky, or some other equally melodramatic metaphor. The guitar is oftentimes the only instrument to keep itself from drowning in waves of reverb. These songs are full of space -- one might confuse them for anthems; they’re played loud enough and passionately enough. But they’re not anthems; they lament rather than celebrate, scaling themselves against this loss without ever outgrowing it.

“Asa Nisi Masa” is uttered once more, in Ariadne, the final song before the monolith that is Sleep/Afterparty. It’s this character’s last ditch effort, I think, to remember, to hold on to the experiences that made him who he was. And with the memories that spill over into the floodplains, he finds acceptance. It’s a beautiful way to end things, meeting somewhere between closure and fear of the unknown. I maintain that the album doesn’t resolve. In fact, the only certainty the narrator lands on is when he opines: ”...it’s a mixed bag for the living; full of sorrow, full of grief”. But the certainty is what ends up being important; this clarity is what the protagonist has missed for the duration of the record. And it appears -- for the most fleeting of moments, but it appears nonetheless. If the process we just bared witness to is the self-enclosed circuit, going around and round forever, Sleep/Afterparty is the circuit's death. Never has an ending felt so much like an ending. Nothing could logically follow those last few lines of barely intelligible dialogue, and that's the way it was always going to be: the album lends you that closure, and then acknowledges it has nothing left to offer.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
verdant
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2018


1997 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

someone PLEASE fix the question mark bug it's really killing my vibe thanks

Ovrot
January 12th 2018


13257 Comments


i'm guessing there is no drum solos

Papa Universe
January 12th 2018


10383 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

bumping verdant's review, because it's the only prose readable as poetry..

verdant
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2018


1997 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

every song is a drum solo if you focus hard enough on the drums

cryptologous
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2018


1953 Comments


aw yea fucken sick review ya dog

Digging: Necrot - Blood Offerings

bgillesp
January 12th 2018


2608 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Thanks for making me feel bad. Great review

Digging: Typhoon (USA-OR) - Offerings

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2018


6484 Comments


just use an inverted question mark

Dewinged
January 12th 2018


7510 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Beautiful writing Jack.

Digging: Shame - Songs of Praise

Evok
January 12th 2018


6809 Comments


So this is a gudden innit?

Digging: Fixate - What Goes Around

Risodo
January 12th 2018


488 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

quite overrated, i still need to pay more attention to this with more time

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2018


16127 Comments


oh yeah

"in memories, in scripts already written;"

cut the semicolon or something

"(film*, sorry)"

not necessary, cut it out

"In Empiricist, you hear it -- murmured faintly in the background, behind a withdrawn acoustic guitar."

the dashes/makeshift hyphen disjoints your descriptions, lighten up on them

"behind it murmurs"

murmurs >> lingers or something similar

"I believe it begins with Darker"

kinda feel this is an indecisive bit, either it does or it doesn't begin with [so and so]

"I think"

cut it out

otherwise, it's looking good


Ignimbrite
January 12th 2018


6270 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

2018 off to a hell of a start, this is fucking incredible

it's what would happen if someone wrote an album based entirely on my indie rock tastes

Digging: Employed to Serve - The Warmth Of A Dying Sun

SaveYourBreath
January 12th 2018


207 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Getting huge Hospice vibes from this album.

dbizzles
January 12th 2018


10762 Comments


This is easily the among the best reviews I have ever read.

Like, I don't even know what else to say. This was so fantastic. I haven't had a chance to hear the whole album yet, but it seemed special before I read this and now I know it's something else. The way you ended the review is just... next level shit, dude.

Fu-cking bra-vo!

SnakeDelilah
January 12th 2018


20119 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

holy shit that avg lmao

Digging: Jeff Rosenstock - POST-

hogan900
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2018


2635 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This album is gorgeous

SnakeDelilah
January 12th 2018


20119 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

meh i guess i missing something

Risodo
January 13th 2018


488 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

me too

hogan900
Contributing Reviewer
January 13th 2018


2635 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

thats tragic lads



verdant
Contributing Reviewer
January 13th 2018


1997 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

thanks guys (specifically dbiz, even though you are utterly ridiculous, and bgillesp, don't feel bad, your review was great!! i think i've just benefited from taking a bit of time to digest this mammoth of an album)



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