8/3/17 – Giles Corey “Deconstructionist” (2012)

Giles Corey is the solo project of Dan Barrett, of Have a Nice Life. His debut self titled album was absolutely terrifying, a harrowing journey of attempted suicide. Much different from that, Deconstructionist is an experimental album with completely different rules and goals. He advised to listen to this album as sensory deprived as possible, and my first listen was somewhat liked that back in 2012. I turned off all the lights, closed my eyes and laid down. I didn’t experience anything that remarkable that I wouldn’t have if I had just listened to it normally, so I wouldn’t say that’s a requirement. Deconstructionist is closest to the Drone genre, as Dan experiments with lots of looping drones, sound effects, and vocal samples. The album is split up into 3 different pieces, each over 20 minutes in length.

Awake Now is the first of the 3 sections of this album, and it’s the most straightforward Drone piece. Looping and overlapping choir-like singing is instantly recognizable if you’re familiar with his body of work. The song itself is split up into two distinct sections, both very slowly growing in intensity and layers of sound. The second ends with a musing guitar but is overtaken by the more painful howls and heavy ‘wall of sound’ noise cloud.

Infinite Death is the second section of this album, and remarkably different from the first. It heavily samples a philosophy course by the professor of Yale University, Shelly Kagan – the source is freely available on youtube courtesy of Yale. He’s a wonderfully entertaining teacher and it’s so easy to get lost in his back and forth arguments. Here he’s tackling the idea that “no one really believes they’re going to die”, going further into challenging the theory of belief that you need to picture or imagine something to believe it. During this lecture, Barrett brings in looming and emotive guitars to set the backdrop of this morbid subject. This subtle instrumentation is some of the best in Barrett’s discography and I feel like this album is required listening for fans of Have A Nice Life simply for this song. As Kagan comes to his conclusion, a high pitched sound slowly grows, and as it grows you realize it’s Kagan’s own voice, pitch shifted and looped as he imagines his own death. The creepy sample is reinforced with powerful bass heavy drones as it loops again and again, seemingly going on forever.

Epsilon is the longest track on the album, and much like Awake Now, it features heavy use of Barrett’s choir like layered singing. The song is nearly 40 minutes and doesn’t really go anywhere – but that’s entirely the point. It loops in on itself again and again, with Dan repeating “epsilon” to himself and a loud, pulsing feedback comes in and out of focus. This is probably the most trance-inducing song on the project, and it’s what keeps me from coming back to this more often. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. This is a very different album and I don’t listen some of my favorite Experimental/Noise albums often, despite how highly I rate them. It’s an experience every time, so if you’re interested, it’s there for you.