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With Throats as Fine as Needles

With Throats as Fine as Needles

(Students Of Decay; US: 16 Jun 2006; UK: Unavailable)

Who knew Mother Earth was a musician? More than that, who knew She had skills? With Throats as Fine as Needles—a band consisting of Campbell Kneale, Antony Milton, James Kirk, and Richard Francis—offers one of the coolest band names ever, as well as bringing our favorite planet into the recording session as the fifth band member, using battery-powered instruments in the outdoors to record six tracks. Actually, it takes place in a New Zealand abandoned bunker, with the quintet (the four musicians plus Mother Earth) recording sounds as they (the sounds) bounce off the walls. Described by the press kit as being like an “excavation turned exorcism”, the drone in this work struggles to stand on its own when it almost cries out for inclusion in a motion picture score, behind action sequences and dramatic dialogue. Tracks built on “massive drones” should undoubtedly be repetitive—that’s to be expected. It seems, though, that this particular experience could be enhanced by a sense of change or movement (in spite of how counterintuitive that suggestion may seem), not only to differentiate the tracks from one another, but also to develop a proactive rendering of sound images. That way, the tracks, though somewhat arbitrary in designation, would provide an environment of contrast to each other, creating a tension not unlike capturing photographs of the abandoned bunker from various angles. Track four does incorporate sounds similar to chimes that merge into a percussive discourse at about two minutes. Still, it soon reverts to the natural mass of spooky reverbs of the first three tracks. A change in tonality occurs in the sixth track, however, bordering on a heavier, more intense industrial sound and providing contrast to the collection’s initial reliance on its organ-like hum.


Quentin Huff is an attorney, writer, visual artist, and professional tennis player who lives and works in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In addition to serving as an adjunct professor at Wake Forest University School of Law, he enjoys practicing entertainment law. When he's not busy suing people or giving other people advice on how to sue people, he writes novels, short stories, poetry, screenplays, diary entries, and essays. Quentin's writing appears, or is forthcoming, in: Casa Poema, Pemmican Press, Switched-On Gutenberg, Defenestration, Poems Niederngasse, and The Ringing Ear, Cave Canem's anthology of contemporary African American poetry rooted in the South. His family owns and operates Huff Art Studio, an art gallery specializing in fine art, printing, and graphic design. Quentin loves Final Fantasy videogames, Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible, his mother Earnestine, PopMatters, and all things Prince.

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