Thomas Ligotti, Gas Station Carnivals LP - Read by Jon Padgett, score by Chris Bozzone
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The "Showman" edition - Purple mix vinyl
* 150 gram vinyl
* Deluxe heavy weight tip-on gatefold jacket.
* 4 page booklet with new essay my Michael Cisco
* Liner notes by composer Chris Bozzone
* 18" x 24" promotional poster.
* Newly commissioned art by Jason Barnett.
Jon Padgett's voice is uniquely suited to telling writer Thomas Ligotti's tales. Confident with a trace of arrogance, each reading of the author's work reveals that the inner workings of the nameless narrator who is at the heart of so many of these stories. A bleak nihilist, the narrator's tellings are always enhanced by the manner in which Padgett begins so many of these readings: usually quite calm, cool, and collected, with an almost pleasant and conversational tone, only to slowly ratchet from irritation to anger, a frayed and edgy rasp coming at the last word of each sentence. It's a transformation which never fails to take one by surprise, and there are such surprises to be had in "Gas Station Carnivals."
Taken from the section entitled “The Damaged and the Diseased” in Ligotti's 2006 collection, Teatro Grottesco, “Gas Station Carnivals” combines the writer's penchant for the misformed aspects of American culture and its unceasing decay with the curious effect of memory upon the tale of the teller, and the emanating tale is one where, once again, the listener is unsure as to the reliability of the narrator.
Bozzone's use of saxophone and flute does a particularly effective job of evoking the Crimson Cafe, in which the narrator hears the stories of his acquaintance, Stuart Quisser, while smoking mild cigarettes and drinking mint tea. It feels jazzy, appro of poetry readings and tableaux vivantes, while droning moans lurk in the background to arouse feelings of dread at the impending reminisces.
The flute also doubles to recreate a fantastic and unnerving imitation of the circus calliope. None of the whimsy of Julius Fučík's "Entrance of the Gladiators" exists here, however. These are the "bare bones of much larger and grander entertainments," such as the titular amusements themselves. Much as the carousel has ceased to merrily go 'round, so have the calliopic tones ceased to make with whimsy. The gently plucked notes of a guitar bring to mind a pastoral setting in their major keys, but a sudden switch to minor reveals the darkness hidden behind the performances of the Hypnotist, the Human Spider, the Dancing Puppet, and Dr. Fingers.
The electronic touches which dance from left to right will disorient those who choose to sequester themselves from distraction with a pair of headphones. If hearing Padgett's voice speaking as though he's just behind one's shoulder wasn't unsettling enough, this stereo trickery is sure to create its own mesmeric routine. Perhaps on your next journey in the remote reaches of America's heartland, you too will find something behind the filling station which causes you to doubt your own memory.
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.