Saturday, October 12, 2024
Spectre drives down the road, the sediment of the sidewalk and the jet black asphalt lightly crunching against the rough snakeskin texture of the tyres. It’s going for a midnight drive – you wanna come with? Come on, it’s a Saturday night. Let’s have some fun!
The window rolls down, the throttle revs up with an aggressive lurch, and the car speeds along.
I am a passenger, and I ride and I ride. I ride through the city’s backside. I see the stars come out of the sky. Yeah, they’re bright in a hollow sky. You know it looks so good tonight.
What happens next is either the result of a wreckless teen racer or an unfortunate collision. The radio is playing, but the mind-numbing commercials take precedence and priority before a saxophone smoothly glides in. Out of the blue, and with the hissing of a rattlesnake that’s ready to strike, the car crashes and spins out of control. Glass shatters. No Problema Tapes, established three years ago in Santiago, Chile, is first on the scene. By midnight, the soul is on the brink of fluttering away. The night is just as black as the road. The road is just as black as the impending afterlife.
Police sirens and ambulances are quick to arrive at the scene of the emergency. In a state of severe shock, the driver stares up at the sky, but the lights are dimming and the world is crumbling. This is only the start of the journey (for both the music and the soul). The swirling mist of “Transcendence” descends over the music. Dull, throbbing and relatively slow rhythms emerge, sounding like your last couple of heartbeats. The rest of Spectre can be described as an out of body experience. As the blood drains away into the gutter, serenity settles over the body. Soon, we’ll be in another world.
In this clouded place, a piano gently plays and vague, romanticized samples of songs lie on the floor of the music, like a scattering of cigarette ash beside the traffic lights. Cracks start to appear in the broken circuits of the brain as it all unravels, and like a can of Pringles, once they pop, they can’t stop. The world is short-circuiting, but we already knew that. Music goes deeper than the body, though, and like a Spectre it survives the journey to the other side without any kind of jet lag or fatigue on the part of the spirit. It bathes in darker moments – the opening scene sets the midnight tone and a nocturnal example for the rest of the record to follow.
Sounds slowly emerge. Daytime television advertisements ring out in slow motion, and concerned voices that may or may not be doctors conversing with one another lie at the feet of the music, adrift and yet somehow connected to a single, susceptible thread. At this stage, the music is in a coma. Airy sounds float around, providing some much needed oxygen and gradually pumping life back into Spectre.
Thunder booms overhead, and like a modern-day Frankenstein, the power of lightning revives the lonesome body before everything goes down the drain. Dim, fading lights are suddenly dazzling red strobes. The sheer shock of resuscitation brings a gasp of air, and the lungs cling desperately to it. Sirens and other sounds smash through. An oxygen mask is placed over the face, and the cold, merciless wind of a cruel world drifts over the skin. We are all passengers here. The driver will have company later; there are visitors long after the closing of visiting hours. (James Catchpole)