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Sound and Fury Illustration: Duchy Man. Illustration: Duchy Man.

Carnage / Implied Anatomy

It was May 2021 when I learned of the existence of carnival, an album by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis composed in the previous months of confinement.

The last I had heard of Nick Cave with Warren Ellis had been the soundtrack for War Machine, in 2020. What bestiality —I thought—, what would films be without that unequivocal demon that announces that something is about to happen: an apparition, a cry; an escape, at best. I was reminded very quickly of the time when Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds was a monstrous mountain of altered colors. And, like everything monstrous, it aroused that feeling that only songs composed by enormous souls arouse. Now in carnival, those monsters appeared “rolling through the mountains like a train”, with “tears the size of an elephant”. They were the same monsters, but they were different, or they had grown bigger.

The disc, strangely, seemed corporeal to me, with anatomy, spinal cord, pain, shots of substances. It seemed dissectable to me. A dissectable musical body. A body capable of falling on another and physically impacting it.

You have to sacrifice yourself. You have to listen to it with your whole body and let yourself fall.

The chest

carnival It is not the classic album that depresses you because the lyrics are sad or because the minor notes settle in the middle of the rib cage and oppress the modest daily joys.

what it does carnival on the chest is to leave an extremely subtle notice, an I'm here. 

Let's say he makes a short stay with everything and his tachycardia and his little diastolic syndromes (which I don't know if it exists, although I assume it doesn't).

carnival It's not a cardiovascular record, even if the chest finds out.

The eyes

It's a circular disc, like a REM phase. You have to close your eyes, and they close instinctively.

How not to close them to see better, to see inside?

Balcony Man it's a sale. I think it's the first blindfold on the album (or the first one I covered my eyes with).

"I am the man on the balcony, / I am 200 pounds of packed ice."

And the ice burns above the eyelids, and the eyes close in pain.

"I'm a 200-pound octopus / under a sheet."

And the eyes are closed in sadness.   

(Something clogs the lacrimal gland and doesn't let the crying come out. Something between the eyeball and the eyelid is blocked. Then the eyes open. Then the ice burns again. Then the eyes open and close. Then the eyes are a chorus in loop).


In all these months of confinement I have heard little music that has made me rest my hands on the edge of the table, move my fingers as if that edge were a piano, or any other instrument. It happened to me from the first song I put on: Lavender Fields.

A voice said I am traveling terribly alone.

And the hands, terribly alone, walked along the edge of the table, pressing the invisible black keys that only existed inside the song.

The feet


prefrontal cortex

I arrived at old-time.

"Wherever you are, darling, / I'm not that far behind…"

And I felt behind everything. I felt like I was in a huge line, full of people who were looking for something that I also wanted. I stopped at the word "honey", at the verb carere, in the shortcomings (and in the certainty that affection comes from them).

I felt behind the etymology of a word as alien to me as the verb "to have", like everything impersonal. There can't be a love, I said to myself, and I avoided by all means uttering a word, sending the messages that a girl with nineteenth-century mania would send. I wanted to send a letter, yes. Put "honey" 90 times. I held back. I held back some cravings. I think I have achieved it.

I heard that neo-gospel thing again white-elephant, and I had—as a certain friend would say—more fear than money. It was almost six in the morning and she was tired, as if she had a malarial ailment, or chronic sadness. 

But from the prefrontal cortex one also lies. 

And I said I'm fine. 

And I said give me another glass. 

And I said I'm sleepy.

I fell asleep with my head resting on my cousin's small table. It woke me up an hour later. The hearing aids reproduced his vesicular murmur cyclically. I turned on the screen. I paused the song that was playing.

I woke up tired, as if another body had been on top of mine all night. 

I think a body was on top of mine all night. 

A dissectable musical body. 

A corporeal voice.

the viscera

On the way home I put on Albuquerque, an almost sweet and almost morning song. I felt contraindicated, although it was worth consuming. 

The voice came from inside, from deeper inside, from the viscera, from where the song does not have to be malleable or warm. 

No. It's not an endearing album, nor cute, nor sad.

It is a visceral and aggressive record that hides its courage behind the scent of lavender and the calm of white elephants.

“We're not going to get anywhere, honey. / Unless I dream you there.”

It is an album that dreams through the eyes of the listener. A spirit that takes over another's body, an alien body that takes over the spirit.

carnival enters through the chest and moves to the prefrontal cortex and goes down to the hands and is confused inside the eyes. 

It is heard with the viscera because it is made with the viscera.

And it's as terrible and as beautiful as typing "honey" 90 times. How to realize the same lack 90 times. Like dying on a wooden table every time sadness is guessed. Like putting a whistle of secrets and unreal environments to your ear.

Of course it's not comfortable.

But you have to die as many times as you write the word "love", because each love is a small death.

It is necessary to die on the edge of a wooden table and manage on the way home while a voice says, with superhuman strength, that we will not get anywhere.

Avatar photo Wendy Martinez Voyeur of chess games. I'm afraid of clowns. More posts

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  1. Rafael Grillo says:

    I loved the album, I love the duo of Warren Ellis and Nick Cave, I love your comment. It will be because I am also afraid of clowns.

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