MAUDLIN OF THE WELL — Part The Second (review)

MAUDLIN OF THE WELL — Part The Second album cover Album · 2009 · Non-Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Maudlin farewell

Given how I'd never be able to find right words to review this album, I shall celebrate its elusive nature by writing a really long, lousy essay, unchained from any stylistic restraints. You will be bored, moved and bored again. Your time will be wasted with the only consolation being that I wasted even more of it myself.

Part The Second was fan funded and it's an entirely independent work with artwork conceived by Toby Driver himself. For those who don't know, he is the mastermind behind all motW and Kayo Dot albums, as well as co-creator/co-founder of Tartar Lamb, Vaura and several other projects. Along with Mories of Gnaw Their Tongues, he's my favourite avant rock composer. Speaking of which, I've just realized my 100th review on a metal site is actually of a non-metal album! This is getting worse by the minute!

Anyway, let's talk maths here. Part the second... but how? In half? Five tracks? Or maybe, judging by the artwork, time is relative, and there's no substantial difference between one second and one day. These are just fragments of the same substance which is apparently infinite. If not for us and our limited perception, there wouldn't be any fragments at all as you can't see contours of seconds, minutes, hours ticking on the clock or years, decades, centuries gradually turning your body into atomic dust. Time's abstract and bound with space. Yet still, we managed to part it, rationalize it. Even though this album looks like it was conceived rationally and divided into 5 tracks, it's not. It's art and art hates rational thinking. Art is based on intuition and driven by feelings. Sounds pretentious? Well, we could certainly have a decent discussion about what is art, what isn't or if it even is a real thing at all. I'm divided on the subject. It seems not to be a real thing but when I start to think it is, I consider art to be something that escapes rationalization. For now. Everything can be explained scientifically and surely will, yet for now there still are some gray areas when it comes to psychology and neurology. I'm glad there are. You have to live in a bubble in order to maintain your sanity. However small the bubble is, you can't let it pop or you'll fall into a trap of trying to perceive yourself from the outside of your own reasoning, which is obviously impossible.

Okay, without going too far into metaphysics, that's what I believe music is for. Not that music, or art in general, has any other purpose than to satisfy the one who makes it. For someone who listens to music, however, it has potential to be a gate into a world where you can understand and feel yourself without falling back on verbal reasoning. Whether music excites you, makes you happy and euphoric or moves you and makes you depressed, that doesn't matter. What matters is that for this brief moment you're free of restraints of your consciousness. I think that's why people often use drugs to "open their third eye", although lucky are those for whom music works like one. As far as I am concerned, some music does. Part the Second does. All that I've written until now was inspired by the album. If your first thought while going through this review was "This guy's high as fuck", then Part the Second really works. I'm sure some of you would gladly see more substantial commentary on the album, though. Here you go. Part the Second, as any abstract work of art, is a grower. I didn't fall in love with it instantly but my subconscious had already known I would have listened to it again. We tend to call it "getting hooked", intrigued by something for vague reasons. That's because you're not yet aware of something your brain already knows.

In terms of influences, it's the most seamless album by maudlin of the Well and Toby Driver in general. Maybe it's just me, but I can't name more than one influence without hesitation. The album surely is inspired by chamber music. Its structure could just as well be described as progressive/postmodern in a broad sense, but chamber music seems more precise to me due to a prominent role of violin passages. On the other hand, it plays with pacing and repetition in a similar way post-rock does. Luckily, you won't experience any straightforward, full-on build-ups that plague post-rock music nowadays. Part the Second is more sophisticated than that and for that reason it may appear as less accessible to some people. Still, to those accustomed to avant-garde complexity, this will be a refreshing experience. Part the Second doesn't do anything superfluous. It's just as complex as it has to be and never gets heavier than it should. What I say may seem quite vague, but this record really sounds as if it were aware of itself. Every sound, every word is there for a reason and for no reason at all. "This guy's higher than I thought". Well, hear me out, please! I believe that the more brilliant the work you create is, the more difficult it is to explain the choices you made. It's called talent. And talent is an unpredictable asshole.

Oh man, I'm fed up with this review so much right now. Nobody's going to read something that long anyway, so why bother? Most certainly because I felt like 100th review was a good occasion to do something different. Part the Second is one of those albums I couldn't review in a decent way, anyway. It's an album that gets to you on a very personal level, almost as if it were addressed directly to you. As if you were the only one to ever listen to it. The world is abstract after all, so maybe you are the only one listening to it? Maybe all is just an illusion? Or not even that. Maybe the bubble you're trying to preserve is all you actually have? Whatever the case, the final effort by maudlin of the Well is a reminder that music... is a drug! Haha, good one, ain't it?! You didn't see that coming, huh? Please, if you enjoy experimental music of any sorts, listen to Part the Second and get high from the experience. But secretly! Seriously people! Music's gonna be banned if someone from Da Guverment reads this review. I have to go, spec ops are at the door already!... [beep beep beep]
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