Arkitekchur: Should, Or The Drawing Boarded Colour Target Future Theater War(s)

One obviously notices first the recording's booklet photographs of gun-toting soldiers, 9-11 carnage, and Middle Eastern mayhem in this first full-length from Arkitekchur (Joseph Lisciandro). An aerial shot of Ground Zero and a particularly disturbing photo of a uranium-deformed fetus suggest that the music too might be apocalyptic and perhaps funereal. With its revolutionary aura and song titles like “How To Pray Using the Mysteries of Light Theme,” one expects that Should, Or The Drawing Boarded Colour Target Future Theater War(s) might evoke the impassioned, grandiose style of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Certainly the guitar patterns that ripple across the opening moments of “Rite Words” suggest that Arkitekchur's music could explode momentarily into some massive Godspeed-like crescendo. But, strangely, such expectations are thwarted when the piece instead unfolds in almost drone-like manner for the rest of its fifteen minutes. In fact, a similar discordance reigns throughout as much of the recording's seventy-two minutes hew to an ambient, at times elegiac, guitar-generated sound. Yet, in spite of the overall calm, an underlying foreboding permeates the recording. Disturbing moments intermittently surface and impute an unsettling tension, the police sergeant reading “Your children are not safe anywhere at any time” from the Washington sniper letter a case in point. As a whole, the album's compelling with its impact diminished by specific musical weaknesses. “Rite Words” offers too little development to maintain interest over its fifteen minutes, and “How To Pray Using the Mysteries of Light Them” suffers a similar fate when stretched out to twenty-three minutes, in spite of its episodic segues through guitar-drum passages and chiming atmospherics. Should, Or The Drawing Boarded Colour Target Future Theater War(s) ends memorably enough, however, with four minutes of silence (“Black Sun Nuclear Winter'd: the Project for the New American Century”) followed by the gentle coda “Anandamide.” Given the brooding character of the music leading up to it, how should one interpret the sound of a music box chiming “You Are My Sunshine”? Are these the dying sounds from a post-apocalyptic landscape, or ironic ballast to the recording's otherwise doom-laden moods? That such questions arise attests to its provocative nature.

March 2004