Walter & Sabrina - Demons!
"Desire is exploitation," the label notes for this ambitious two disc set proclaims. The demons get in any way they can, through laws that repress or through indulgence that never seems like it will ever be enough. "Demons!" explores the dread that accompanies our facing our own capacity for evil, as individuals and as a culture. Once again, Stephen Moore and Walter Cardew use orchestral and cabaret motifs to propel their horrific tales of sin and revenge. And where better to probe the personal and political depths of sin and its wages than in Berlin? Hey, it worked for Lou Reed and David Bowie, and it works here. There are, sadly, more than enough examples of demons to explore in that city.
Soprano Celia Lu's ethereal vocals and the harpsichord work of Dietrich Eichmann stand out among the ensemble. Evoked are both the calm before the storms and then storms themselves; using Germany as a metaphor and as proof, the decadence of the early 1930's and the horrors of the 40s are of a piece. Allusions to a coming visceral appearance of evil in the present is represented by violent video games and porn. The dread, the gothic menace of the tracks, especially "Make It Sinister," "a vain committing (antiwar.com)"-which is a section of a longer piece titled "Spoilt Brat Sacrifice" and "Mouse Girl Stoned," dig for evil and the choices that lead to it in both the personal and political. They don't need to dig deep to find, but they do. This is a two disc set that is as moral as it is shocking, beautiful as it creepy. "Demons!" reminds us of choices, and of what results when those choices are made in fear.
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