Apr 21, 2017, 08:36AM

A Handful of Dust

52 Weeks of Jason Lescalleet, Week 9 “His Petition” (4/11/08).

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Somewhere I own a rotting, early 1980s issue of Thor that will probably disintegrate whenever its bag is re-opened. The story is set in Hades, where Mephisto has trapped the god of thunder and is trying to lure him to the dark side; there’re demons, sulfur and some of the most skin-crawling depictions of post-human suffering I’ve encountered in a mainstream comic book. But more notably, for our purposes, there’s a page where some entity is clueing Mephisto in that his infernal realm is crumbling. The artist provides an impossible perspective that allows us to see the bedrock below Mephisto’s very feet, to see that there’s maybe three or four yards of matter between those feet and a yawning, white void that stretches down into infinity.

“His Petition” presents a solid 10 minutes of grumble-crumble, time-warping tape loops that creak and gnaw and corrode the listener’s very sense of time. Finding one’s footing here is impossible. Maybe you’re a third of the way deep into the gravel, but then maybe you’re seven-eighths deep. That’s not a complaint, mind you, because this specious, elongating limbo—this space of growls, of detuned hums, of feedback Rorschachs, of muted sputtering sprinkler systems—wears its no-pulse solace exceptionally well. Get hip, dissemble to the anti-beat, thank me later.


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