Those of you fancying some creeping dread psychosis purred disturbia in readiness to celebrate the season of death / rebirth will probably have to dig deep to find anything as out there, strange and eerie as Keith Seatman’s sinisterly shadow smothered ‘a rest before the walk’. Embarking on a darkening trip through forgotten pathways and memories shrouded in macabre haziness, Mr Seatman’s disquieting jaunt encounters along its way detouring dead ends where, lurking to the left are found Wizards Tell Lies, whilst to the right gloomed in supernatural fog, the Unseen lie in wait. Populated by apparitions and shadowy echoes of things both lost and gone and those to come, ’a rest before the walk’ sits perched in the twilight realms, a shadowy hinterland gloomed in the warping psychological macabre of ghostly recitals, rituals and reruns of 70’s horrorphonia (as on the fog bound séance that is the Carpenter-esque skin tingling ‘there’s something outside’) and mind evaporating psychosis (as on our favourite track of the set ‘along the corridor 1st on the left room 2882’ – as it subtly joins hands with Duke St. Workshop) all eerily threaded upon a chilled dread headed filmic landscape of haunted playgrounds and decaying derelict fairgrounds directed by Fulci (not least as evidenced on the Goblin-esque lullaby psychosis of ‘strange tales and lost paper trails’).
Those familiar with Melmoth the Wanderers occasional transmissions not to mention the Hare and the Moon and the darker corners of horror folk as adeptly traded in by the likes of the Reverb Worship imprint will find much to revel in here, the ice cold doom draped chill of the bleakly remote pulsars that descend upon ‘made by sun and ice’ forge an eerie kinship that trades between Stylus and Mount Vernon Arts Lab’s ‘the séance at Hob’s Lane’ whilst elsewhere the glooming spectral that is the monochrome mysterio ‘waiting for Mr Fieldpole’ is slyly ghosted in all manner of droning Radiophonic dream drifts. That said, what makes ‘a rest before a walk’ so engaging is the unnerving way it manages to detach the listener and draw you deep beneath its darkening spell, its sinister symphonia all at once bewitching and beguiling is cloaked in spectral whispers and fleeting dissipates of dreamy translucence. It’s something that makes more sense when you realise that the premise / subtext of the album is the exploration and understanding of wandering thoughts whilst out walking, that unconscious knack of drifting away deep in thought scarcely able to recall the ramble or journey embarked upon, the thoughts free flowing perhaps inspired by a smell, a sound, a memory, a problem, mere planning or an instance of déjà vu perhaps rekindled and reawakened by the landscapes, terrain or time of day. Much like a waking dream ‘a rest before the walk’ hones in on these strange mysteries, fragmenting realism and intertwining it into a dissolving and dissipating fantasia.
Admirers of the Ghost Box imprint will do well to take note that production credits, on an advisory capacity, come from Jim Jupp whilst on the sets three lightest moments – ‘broken folk’, ‘my morning ritual’ and ‘a rest before the walk’ Douglas E. Powell features applying vocal duties to such exquisite effect that on second named track something disorientating approaching Edward Ka-Spell donning youthful Peter Gabriel skins emerges while the latter mentioned woozily wanders into the fracturing shadow lands of Komeda albeit as though spirit guided by some hitherto dark twin of the Superimposers.