Foscor’s Groans to the Guilty (Temple of Darkness, 2009) is the record I have listened to the most in the past half year. I didn’t write about it until now because it didn’t have North American distribution for a while. It did pretty much instantaneously through the Internet, but I prefer to write on things when people can buy them legally. That’s one of the dangers of releasing music on a small label: from the date of release (if not before), you are in a race against the Internet to enforce copyright and get music to people the way you intend. While small labels are busy securing distribution, the Internet is feasting. Once CD’s and the petroleum needed for vinyl disappear, labels might be next.
Ironically, now that Groans is generally available, it’s tough for me to write about it. I cook to this record, I eat to this record, I sleep to this record. Reviewing it is like reviewing my arm. I’m so familiar with it that to pronounce judgment on it seems wrong. But it’s infinitely more interesting than my arm. It’s that type of record on which you know every note, yet every listen reveals new things. I could use descriptors like “dark”, “mysterious”, and “beautiful”, but those are all shorthand for something that renders shorthand inadequate. You don’t get Pynchon from reading Cliff’s Notes on Pynchon. You have to do the work and traverse the length of the language.
This record is likewise. It’s not riffs or songs or even sounds that resonate with me on the most fundamental level. It’s a place. I go to this place almost every day because it is better than the place I inhabit. It’s not a perfect place. In fact, it is full of pain and suffering. But unlike the place I inhabit, the pain and suffering is organized, directed, and productive. Some humans in Catalonia have reached within themselves and molded parts of their psyches into an ineffable experience. I treasure it as I treasure life.
— Cosmo Lee