[midlife 150] #135: of montreal “the past is a grotesque animal”

April 13, 2010

#135 The Past Is A Grotesque Animal by Of Montreal (taken from Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?, 2007)

Its intensity constantly threatens to overwhelm both performer – Of Montreal lynchpin Kevin Barnes – and listener. The Past Is A Grotesque Animal is pure stream of consciousness, depicting existential rootlessness, chaotic emotion, intellectual transgression and addled perspective/blinding clarity.

Built on an urgent motorik rhythm layered (stamped) onto an ever-repeating chord sequence – no bridge, no chorus – the song sees Barnes unpack, over twelve minutes, the split second when his mind finally told him: “Enough.” (Barnes was suffering from depression, and was prescribed anti-depressants, during the making of the album).

Spilling out as a sequence of non sequiturs – literary, psychoanalytic, anarchistic, filmic, situationist, symbolic – The Past… vividly charts a metamorphosis from failure to release.

This review is part of close to 94 ‘s [midlife 150] series, which counts down favourite music 1970-2009.

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