“It’s your job to make the fiction real. Be creative,” says one character to another in “Part 1: Gabrielle”, the third installment of Dumbsaint‘s video triptych. And that’s exactly what the Sydney band has been doing all these months: releasing a work of intrigue. These days, it’s harder to get noticed in any creative field; other artists should learn a lesson from this release, as the extra effort pays off.
Those who have been following the story at A Closer Listen have checked out the first two parts by now; the third (meaning first) answers some questions while raising others. After a brief introduction involving a script, down the rabbit hole we go: the script within the script within the script, à la Inception. On the surface, characters are vying for a role; beneath the surface, they accept a shadowy offer to procure one; within this role, reality and projection grow muddled. In “Part 1,” they are offered the chance to become other people for a while, surrendering their own identities, but they seem to bite off more than they can chew, both physically and psychologically. The film’s deeper questions involve the sublimation of personality and the danger of ambition. My preference would be to remove the clapboard scene, preserving the triptych’s ambiguity; but one can forgive the filmmakers, as it’s hard to offer such darkness without pulling back.
The music is now offered in collected form as the cassette Disappearance in a Minor Role. Even when separated from the images, one can intuit a shift in the tone, beginning in track nine ~ the first track of Part 1. Notes begin to warp like perceptions of reality. Chords grow dissonant. The menace that was once suggested is now overt. The timbre remains in the post-rock arena; the closest relatives are the modern scoring of 3epkano and We Stood Like Kings. One can imagine the band accompanying a live screening of the completed film, modifying its cues from the pit. This would only seem fitting, as it would allow the quartet to disappear within its own (admittedly not minor) role.
Congratulations to Dumbsaint, Bird’s Robe Records and Grimoire Tape Cassette Cvlture for countering the culture of instant digital gratification with this mysterious, multi-tiered release. (Richard Allen)