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Rise above the haze at Tokyo Smoke

Rise above the haze at Tokyo Smoke

By Austin Taylor With cannabis legalization comfortably settling in and new or previously undercover herb enthusiasts coming out of the…



Sunday 03rd, November 2013 / 12:35



1981. Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead is released. Despite modest box office returns, the film is a cult phenomenon. It serves to canonize the cabin-in-the-woods phenomenon as a staple of horror cinema for years to come. Twenty-five years later, the trope would find itself used for even darker purposes as Justin Vernon would create the cabin-in-the-woods indie music that would propel him to stratospheric heights.

Perhaps Breathe Owl Breathe is a sign of something far more ominous lurking in the basements of cabins-in-the-woods throughout America. Perhaps the folksy throb of Passage of Pegasus contains ancient Kandarian rites not spoken in 3,000 years. Is “Explorer,” with its offbeat proclivities, a call for the dead to rise from their graves?

I comb through the album, searching for sinister passages layered beneath the gentle percussion and finger-picked guitar. I note the baritone of Micah Middaugh and slip into a trance-like state. I dream of the National’s vocalist tucking me into bed for “the eternal slumber.” His words, not mine. He places a kiss on my forehead and turns to smoke.

When I awake, the world is black. Middaugh’s low rumble fades out, conforming to inhuman – though not unpleasant – tones. The soaring background vocals of “Two Moths” radiate outward and piercing. I feel something strange as the final drone of the song ceases. My body begins to vibrate at 100,000 Hz and I have become music itself. But it is not long before I come crashing back to earth. I reach up and hit play again.

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By Aaron J. Marko