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SRMeixner - Ten Thousand Ways To Die

Ten Thousand Ways To Die takes its inspiration from the recurring themes of the so-called Spaghetti Westerns films of the sixties and early seventies. The tracks here aren't based on soundtracks or in any way attempt to imitate the soundtracks but take as their inspiration the ideas and themes behind the making of the films and the era in which they were made. Ok gringo.

Much of Ten Thousand Ways To Die is composed from field recordings, samples and digital manipulation. The titles act as mere pointers to the atmosphere conveyed. With the sounds of flies buzzing on 'Something To Do With Death', you can almost visualise the dead body lying in the desert. It is like much of Ten Thousand Ways To Die almost collage based, as it slides effortlessly from electronic treatments to rattling and bird calls to voices merged with acoustic twang.

'Gunslingers, Priests and Pimps' mixes drifting atmospherics with manipulations and tambourine shakes and chimes with voices chattering in the background. 'Once Upon A Time, The Revolution' builds from the clank of rattling bottles into noisier realms with churning electronics finishing up on the looped "revolution" sample. Taken out of context you might be hard pressed to pick up on any "spaghetti western" sounds here beyond the obvious feeling of tension.

Several of the tracks adopt more obvious aspects of the typical "spaghetti western" sound, though never in a clichéd way. There's a flute like sound on 'Too Much Gold Is Bad for Your Health' which is much more cinematic with the low hum atmospherics and gravel footsteps, while 'I Am Your Pallbearer' passes through passages of manipulation into treated harmonica playing and desert styled treatments. The closing track 'Boot Hill' brings all the elements together with finesse. From crunching textures, which I guess represents the dirt being dropped onto the burial coffin, as the ominous tones of a deathly choir hangs overhead as melodic hum sweeps through into manipulated voices while a haunted barroom piano plays along with some refined guitar twang.

This is the first release I've heard from Stephen Meixner since Contrastate disbanded, and here with contributions from Mark Norton, Steve Pittis (Band of Pain), Scott Taylor and Mark Braby the results flow effortlessly. Whether or not you pick up on the "spaghetti western" themes is irrelevant as Ten Thousand Ways To Die is filled with imaginative sparse atmospherics. Ten Thousand Ways To Die is released on CD in an edition of 300 copies on Segerhuva, a Swedish label responsible for reissuing the Contrastate Mort Aux Vaches CD on vinyl as Régiment de Rapaces. For more information go to