Ambrose Bierce, An Inhabitant of Carcosa 7" Read by Anthony D. P. Mann, score by Chris Bozzone
Clear with blue swirl variant
* Pressed on 150 gram vinyl
* New essay by weird fiction scholar S. T. Joshi
* Housed in fold-over sleeve
* Newly commissioned art by Matthew Jaffe
For a story not even counting 1500 words, and published nearly a century and a half ago, Ambrose Bierce's “An Inhabitant of Carcosa” has become the foundation for an entire world and mythos, with Robert W. Chambers appropriating the place name for his collection, The King in Yellow, a decade after Bierce's work, and then H.P. Lovecraft then referencing Chambers' book in his own short story, “The Whisperer in Darkness” in 1931.
The tale, “imparted to the medium Bayrolles by the spirit Hoseib Alar Robardin,” is read by Anthony D. P. Mann and scored by Chris Bozzone on this 7-inch vinyl record. As the tale is told, we learn that teller was “prostrated by a sudden fever,” during which he had suffered “periods of delirium” so powerful that he had needed to be held in his own bed.
Yet, somehow, the storyteller has escaped and found himself a great distance hence from his home, “the ancient and famous city of Carcosa.” As Mann recites the story of Hoseib Alar Robardin, his voice maintains a querulous air, capitally conferring the sheer sense of baffled curiosity at the surrounding in which our narrator has found himself.
Bozzone's score conveys the atmosphere with masterful skill. The swirling synthesizer denotes the air which is “raw and chill,” and the repeated reverberation of something akin to a singing bowl brings “menace and a portent—a hint of evil, an intimation of doom” every time it rings out. Yet, it is not all ominous terror. As Mann relates the explorations of this strange place, a melodious flute plays, bringing the sound of “An Inhabitant of Carcosa” almost to a joyous place – that is, until the teller of this tale remembers his illness, and the sound of the flute stretches and distorts, becoming a shrill warning.