The Death Of Halpin Frayser
Ambrose Bierce, The Death of Halpin Frayser LP – Read by Anthony D. P. Mann, score by Chris Bozzone.
Red Vinyl Variant
* Pressed on 150 gram vinyl
* New essay by weird fiction scholar S. T. Joshi
* Housed in deluxe heavyweight gatefold tip-on jacket
* Newly commissioned art by Adam Burke
As read by Cadabra stalwart Anthony D.P. Mann and scored by Chris Bozzone, Ambrose Bierce’s ghost story, The Death of Halpin Frayser, readily evokes the title of the collection in which it can be found. 1893’s Can Such Things Be? brings to mind the possibility of the improbable, and so does the nested tales within the story itself.
It is with a sense of horrified awe that Mann reads the reactions of a man who sees images such as trees where “blood dripped like dew from their foliage,” accurately conveying everything experienced “as one who has murdered in the dark, not knowing whom nor why.” This is to say, Mann’s conveyance of the titular Halpin Frayser’s terrifying adventure is nothing short of an ever-increasing experience of mortal fear. It’s unclear as to whether this is a dream or the discovery of another plain of existence, with just enough of a nod to the emotions evoked by Bierce in An Inhabitant of Carcosa to make one’s skin erupt in goosebumps. While not explicitly referencing that story, the general atmosphere of otherworldly horror is undeniable.
Composer and musician Bozzone once again makes full use of his talents in scoring Bierce’s frightening story. With his alternate application of sounds both electronic and acoustic, the events transpiring in the haunted wood in the hills west of the Napa Valley are awash in Mellotron-like breaths of synthesized sounds, and the story of Frayser’s life prior to the occurrence in the woods replete with acoustic guitar and piano. The two musical styles are mixed as the final installment of The Death of Halpin Frayser unfurls, wherein the listener discovers just how all of this came to be.