Messer’s Circulating Library
Limited to 300 copies on Sage Green Vinyl
Scottish producer and musician Drew Mulholland’s album Messer’s circulating library consists of a collection of sonic landscapes which, on first listen, appear to be variations on a metallic, industrial theme. They are mainly longform pieces. They are like machineries of revere or the technical drawings behind a nightmare – precise, but bound with an ethereality and dreamlike haze.
“The impetus for this one came from memories of my aunt Nan and how she would take me to this weird shop across from her kitchen window. It was part library, part tobacconist, and part second hand book shop. We would sit in her kitchen afterwards drinking coffee and smoking her sterling cigarettes. (I was 13!). I’ll never forget when she bought Peter Haining’s paperback of The History Of Witchcraft with Jan Parker’s terrifying paintings.” Drew Mulholland
This very specific context shades each track with extra depth, colour and an eeriness that would be absent if presented in a more abstract and detached way. “Frozen Sound In Amber” does a good job of conveying these strange moments, solidified in sepia. While the drones are sharp and constant, there’s enough movement beneath the surface to hint at something strange – an acknowledgment of an innate weirdness – an indulgence into controlled terror. “The Devil’s Squib” cranks up this dalliance with the sinister – or at least Mulholland’s recollection of it – as electronic chattering skips neatly into more a downbeat, ambient chill. It could be that these sounds are the sonic mechanics of a memory, as though Mulholland has contact miked his own synapses and is documenting the recollection itself – the sounds blur between the electronic noises of his fizzing brain and the hazy contents of the memory itself.