CD Review: Luc DeSio

Luc DeSio
When You Read Slow Death
Masa Records

DeSio’s latest release was through Masa Records, a self-described D.I.Y. label that has released records from a plethora of great Pacific Northwest bands including Bellingham’s own Go Slowpoke, Lands Farther East, Tyson Ballew and Palisades, among many others. DeSio’s offering strays far from the convenient genre labels of pop, alternative rock, country or anything else- it is soundscape noise, to put it simply.
But, simplicity is not necessarily something that describes “When You Read Slow Death” at all- it is actually quite complex- albeit not in the proggy way one might interpret that as meaning. Rather, the album is full of textures and layers that can only really be appreciated on multiple listenings. Yet, for me, soundscape stuff is not typically something I will listen to multiple times (unless it happens to be a soundtrack to a movie I really enjoy or something, and even then it is in the background and can be ignored at times.)
The opening track- clocking in at more than seven minutes- is “With Hands Clasping,” and it pretty much stays the same the whole time. Hissing noises in the background like blown-out speakers and an underlying tone that denotes a sense of something coming, and nothing ever does, the song just ends. Of course, that is besides the point. When it comes to albums that focus on soundscapes and experimental noise, the music is meant to set a mood – and DeSio’s album does just that. The songs put you in a trance, a contemplative mood in which you absorb the sounds and use them to translate the world around you.
Many of the songs have a spoOoky vibe to them, which I enjoy. The second track on the album, “Iambic Hex” would be a great song to play on a loop on speakers in the front yard during Halloween- it would definitely give off a creepy, WTF vibe to any trick-or-treaters walking towards the front door. It was recorded during the Fall and Winter, which makes total sense, and on the bandcamp page it (maybe jokingly?) says the album is “a meditation on the curative aspects of Black Magic,” which also totally makes sense.
–Rod Lotter