Mrs. Rinaldi’s Angel
* 150 gram vinyl
* Deluxe heavy weight tip-on gatefold jacket.
* 4 page booklet with new essay my Michael Cisco
* Liner notes by composer Chris Bozzone
* Newly commissioned art by Jason Barnett.
Originally published in Thomas Ligotti’s 1994 collection, Noctuary, “Mrs. Rinaldi’s Angel” is of particular interest to those who appreciate the writer’s tales as it reveals the truth behind our dreams, rather than the lie behind the waking world in which so many of us move about, unaware of what lies beneath the surface or hidden around the corner.
Read here by longtime Ligotti devotee Jon Padgett, this tale is considerably more innocent in tone than many of the author’s other works. The young man at the heart of “Mrs. Rinaldi’s Angel” is not the usual cynical narrator of Ligotti’s stories such as “The Small People” or the long-form poem, “I Have a Special Plan for This World,” but instead a child plagued by dreams over which he has no control. His mother seeks help with the titular Mrs. Rinaldi, who then takes the young man aside and describes just what dreams really are: “They are parasites-maggots of the mind and soul, feeding on the mind and soul as ordinary maggots feed on the body.”
It is at that point that our young man acknowledges that viewpoint as the reality which he’d always suspected as true, but it only when the struggle becomes too much that he ends up unleashing the terror which will soon leave his somnambulence one where “everything was so saturated with revels and thick with frenzy that it took on the utter blackness of the old time.”
Padgett’s narration is the usual matter-of-fact relation of horrendous or horrific imagery which is so emblematic of Liggoti’s work, but here in “Mrs. Rinaldi’s Angel,” it is stripped of the usual guttural snarl or derisive smugness which typifies so many of the author’s narrative stand-ins. No, here the narrator is almost implacably curious as to what’s happening and ends up where is almost by happenstance, rather than having mysterious forces worked upon him.
The Chris Bozzone score leans deeply into a certain religious tone, but one which has been altered by the composer and his particular talents. It’s particularly synthetic, making no effort whatsoever to attempt denying the fact that this music was crafted electronically. It’s the sound of a church organ and choir, but reproduced unnaturally in a way which is, essentially, that of the mist to which our narrator makes his offering of saliva and wine: a “churning vapor which was electrical in some way, scintillating with infinitesimal flashes of sharp light, sprinkled with shattered diamonds.”