Thursday, 13 August 2015

AUSCULTATION – PROMISE YOU'LL HAUNT ME

We begin weaving this basket of words housing our morsel of music for the moment with a smidgen of etymology. Auscultation comes from the Latin word "auscultare" which means "to listen" and refers to the practice of listening to the internal sounds of the body. Whilst less familiar with this more technical term, you will probably know what a stethoscope is; long-named French man René-Théophile-Hyacinthe Laennec invented this instrument in 1816. Apparently the practice of listening to body sounds (lungs, heart, intestines, etc.) has been mentioned in ancient Sanskrit texts, and was also used by ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates.

But enough of this. You'll know it all if you're a medical student and if you're properly interested in getting the meaning of everything you stumble upon, like YES/NO is, you'll google it, right? Whatever. It's time to talk about the musical, non-medical Auscultation and his track 'Promise You'll Haunt Me'. True to its name, there is a definitive feeling of otherworldliness here, of waking up past midnight with your digital clock flashing next to you and a stomach churning sense of the barrier between the realm of the living and the dead oozing and deteriorating, the sweat of spooky summer nights, that monumental feeling of mere minutes seeming to be hours as you wait for something to appear, eyes wide and strained into the heavy glowering pitchblackness of your bedroom.

This sound is in the gently decayed ectoplasmic merging synth chords, pulsating through a hypnotic series of loops whose progressions are joyful yet jarring, relaxed yet maniacal – the nightly breath-hold anticipating a sojourn from a spirit, a mix of curiosity and sustained terror, of happiness and regretful longing. Robust bass columns in beneath, matching the chords, soon joined by thudding kicks, lo-fi muted handclaps, and nocturnal spookily jangling clanks of cymbals, not to mention the high register chirruping melodies that shine lifee-giving and springlike in the more regular chord progressions. But there is an intermittent switching between these "regular" sections and parts that exhibit a slightly more unhinged collection of chords, clouds of shuddering fear or dreadful anticipation in this general blue sky of happiness, heart flutterings as the door creaks, or something taps on your window.

The aesthetic of this track, a sort of half-submerged quality that gives everything a warm veil of misty fuzz, serves to add to the idea that its title suggests, a semi-decayed veneer that speaks of nostalgia and bygone, happier days. Whatever its connection to its title, whether the title came after the music or if its sound was inspired by those words, it remains an arresting, intriguing track that nevertheless speaks of phantomatic trysts, longing and loneliness after death, love crossing the gulf between here and the unknown.


  • 'Promise You'll Haunt Me' arrives as the first track from Auscultation's cassette release on 100% Silk due tomorrow, 14th August, called L'étreinte Imaginaire ("The imaginary embrace" in English). Track titles continue a theme of emotivity — Side A: 'Drop Off', 'Black Window', 'Composure Fog'; Side B: 'Vanda', 'Stranded Love', and 'Lost You In The Fog'. You can get it here (click).


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