Thomas Ligotti, The Red Tower, I Have a Special Plan for This World & This Degenerate Little Town LP - Read by Jon Padgett, Score by Chris Bozzone
Last copies! 4X on "random" color vinyl
* 150 gram vinyl
* Deluxe heavy weight tip-on gatefold jacket.
* 8 page booklet with new essay by author Matt Cardin.
* Liner notes by composer Chris Bozzone.
* Newly commissioned art by Jason Barnett.
The second collaboration between reader Jon Padgett and musician Chris Bozzone is another adaptation of Thomas Ligotti's writings. This triumvirate of reader, musician, and writer is a coming-together of individuals who are all on their own superlative talents, but when combined, form a particularly powerful collective
At the outset, Bozzone's music swirls and eddies like “the gray emptiness” and “desolate horizon” which surround the titular Red Tower. There's an energy here, matched by the intensity of Padgett's reading. Together, they create an impression within the mind of the listener that this speaker could be either an exceptionally excited party, delighted to have the opportunity to share this tale or someone who has possibly succumbed to the lunacy of the “hallucinatory” accounts told to them, “rendered in borderline gibberish.”
Given the narrator's repeated referral to his own degeneracy, it is far more likely the latter, and we are hearing the tale of someone whose mania is total. As the tale descends from that desolate plain on which the Tower sits, delving deeper into the bowels of the building, several stories beneath the earth, the music becomes that of droning terror, and Padgett's reading takes a matter-of-fact turn rendering all the more horrific that which he is describing. Never should any sane creature tell explain a “murky vision of graveyard […] a subterranean graveyard surrounded by a crooked picket fence” in anything less than horrified tones.
Of special interest on this LP are the tracks on the album's second side, as it marks the second adaptations of Ligotti's “I Have A Special Plan For This World” and “This Degenerate Little Town,” both of which were first performed by the band Current 93 in the early '00s. The original “I Have A Special Plan” was read by the band's David Tibet, who is himself a poet, and “This Degenerate Little Town” was read by the author himself, with music which is discrete, blended as it is with the readers' voices.
While those recordings were marked by tape delay, pauses, and not a little bit of reverberant echo, here Padgett's voice is in the forefront, marked by a weathered, raspy edge to his voice in the former and a world-weary sadness in the latter. This vocal stylings transform the pieces from their previous interpretations as the rambling rantings of a discombobulated madman to ones which are terrifyingly direct, especially in the case of “I Have A Special Plan.”
Bozzone's music for these two pieces has unique elements which come out of the ether to disconcert and charm. The disconcerting aspect comes in “I Have A Special Plan,” where a music box is so closely recorded that one can hear the ratcheting sound of the gears unwinding, adding mechanical dissonance to what would otherwise be charming beauty. The quiet desolation of “This Degenerate Little Town” is counterbalanced by spare piano, reversing the pattern of the track which precedes it.
About Thomas Ligotti:
Thomas Ligotti (b. 1953) is an American author who is widely considered to be one of the most important living writers of horror fiction. His work is characterized by a distinctively bleak and dark philosophical vision, pitching over into outright nihilism, that remains strikingly original even as it draws on a rich set of literary influences that includes the likes of H. P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Bruno Schulz, William Burroughs, E. M. Cioran, and Vladimir Nabokov. His short fiction collections include Songs of a Dead Dreamer, Grimscribe, Noctuary, The Nightmare Factory, and Teatro Grottesco. He is also the author of the short novel My Work Is Not Yet Done and the nonfiction work The Conspiracy against the Human Race. He has won multiple Bram Stoker Awards, British Fantasy Awards, and World Fantasy Awards. In 2015 Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe were published in a single-volume Penguin Classics edition, making Ligotti one of ten living authors to be included in that distinguished series.