Sky Needle – Neckliner (Albert’s Basement)
by Brigette Adair Herron
When I tried to simultaneously listen to and write about Sky Needle’s cassette album Neckliner, I found it extremely difficult to do anything but just listen. It was halting. It was all circular movements and the sounds from inside of a junk drawer. It could have been the lost soundtrack to a Jan Svankmajer short film, or it could have been something more sinister. I stared at the computer for 21 minutes and 41 seconds. I decided to sleep on it.
Last night my dreams were infiltrated by post-language hypnotists.
I have been told that Sky Needle is from Brisbane, but in my dream they were standing around an abandoned loft in Cleveland, Ohio. A pile of garbage sat in the corner, left there by the previous inhabitants. They picked up the spare parts of appliances and bicycles. They found a bicycle horn and began singing their own version of the song ‘Laughing’ off Pere Ubu’s The Modern Dance.
They chased each other around, honking and kicking over the skeletons of former furniture. “We’re building a noise machine,” they called out to me. They rummaged through the garbage for parts. “You can have it when we’re done.”
When they started to build their machine they had forgotten I was there, and by the time the machine began to work, they had already returned to Brisbane.
The machine had gears that perpetually propelled themselves. Its first movements made the sound of a delirious march. And then it began to sing. The words were unintelligible, but they carried the weight of a final judgment. There appeared to be no clear beginning or end.
The machine played side A:
Phase Two/Oh Way Mound/Great Bore/Senator
And then the machine played side B:
Where To/Cave More/Most of Three/Bad Boy
I suspect that Sky Needle would like me to believe that these are the words being sung throughout Neckliner, but I am not so foolish. I have read enough about ancient alchemists to know that obscured language contains great power. Sky Needle’s hidden magic reveals itself to those who are adventurous enough to let them inside of their dreams. I kicked over the machine and woke up.