A Wound of Body is the first part of a two-album series by dark ambient experimentalist Common Eider, King Eider, which delves into “wounds at once physical and spiritual, social and societal, natural and environmental”. A harsh fragility permeates the entire album, its string drones and electronic mists of distortion a reminder that in every skin-deep injury a signal of the body’s demise is nestled. Masterfully crafted and mixed, A Wound of Body feels like a long lament, a hymnal not meant for praise but for grieving, its songs a mournful vehicle for tragedy.
“Remembrance – A Threnody” begins with a soaring electronic drone, like a wind that carries the ghastly whispers of a voice whose screams no longer emit sharp, defined sounds: a grave exhalation has taken its place, the wound an impossibility to forget, the scars of memory a direct imprint upon the wastelands that the history of progress has rendered our world with. In a way, it’s almost like a post-rock track, shining brightly with despair, except there is no heroic or hopeful resolution here, only the echoes of a deadly expiration that bear with them the frailty of landscapes. From here on, all tracks are interconnected by certain key sounds, like the humming intonations of “Sinew Stretched Over Crumbling Bones”, which link the breath of the “Threnody” with the striking, solemn chants of the third track, “We Sing Over These Bones So That They May Rise Up and Run Away Into The Night”. This corpus of voices and noise is accompanied by drones that inflict certain tones upon it like a spear, shifting its expression into different forms of darkness.
While it may be an oppressive listen for some, there’s a fragility underlining A Wound of Body, from the warmth of the chants in “We Sing” and the stillness of the breathing noise to the quietly chilling rumble of “Hélène” and the sad string drone by the end of “River of Blood”; all these elements bring forth a sorrow of the kind that washes over the mind after suffering an injury, profoundly felt and yet in view of an end. As the album builds up a ruin overcome with vines, there is a sense that the ruin itself is also on the verge of disappearing, the wound a thoughtful memory of all that has deteriorated, a loss that is not paralyzing, allowing pain a free expression. Make no mistake – there is no hope, but at least that ruin is analogous to a consciousness in full view of anguish.
Common Eider, King Eider has produced some impressive dark ambient albums before, but A Wound of Body is a truly moving experience, multi-layered and utterly absorbing. You might not feel the pain at the world’s heart, but you will surely feel like a tragedy is unfolding before your very skin. (David Murrieta Flores)