Following The Seven Fields of Aphelion's Periphery (Feb '10/Graveface) and Tobacco's Maniac Meat (May '10/Anticon), Dreamend's album, So I Ate Myself, Bite by Bite is the latest album from a member of the peculiar electronic band, Black Moth Super Rainbow. With So I Ate Myself, Bite by Bite and its companion piece (which is set to come out in 2011), Dreamend diverges from the synth-pop of Black Moth to take on a nightmarish folk sound that evokes the faded scenery of ghost towns and eerie midnight drives.
As Dreamend's sole member and proprietor behind Graveface Records, an independent label with a sharp focus on hand assembled items and limited editions, Ryan Graveface has a dazzlingly complex album in SIAMByB. Heavy on banjo, bells, guitar, organ and fearlessly honest vocals, this record is relentlessly catchy.
"Pink Cloud in the Woods," sets the tone for the album with its deceptively patient ruminations. Sparse cricket sounds, bells and piano evolve into stop-and-go drums and the breathy chant of "I walked through the woods. It was a rainy day." From there, SIAMBbB sprawls out like a cinematic experience more than a loose collection of songs. The tale concerns a character who acts on his destructive fantasies and impulses. A synapse in his head snaps like a twig and before he knows it, he's in the middle of a deed he'd never have imagined undertaking just days before.
The banjo-laden song "Pieces" delves deep into the details of the crime with intrepidly gruesome lyrics. Its misleadingly upbeat energy by way of intricate drumming causes this song about brutal murder to be unusually catchy. Album closer "An Admission" shifts down the synth highway as it details the character's seemingly inexplicable need to kill again and again. It starts with pitch bending swirls buttressed by banjo and drums. Soon, these elements are overtaken by stormy effects and soprano "whoo-ooo"s, culminating in an about-face of percussive THRASH.
The tale of SIAMBbB will have you reeling and so will its incredible packaging. The label who brought you indie-rock's first bonafide, hand made pop-up book with Long-Forgotten Friend have upped the ante: the LP version of So I Ate Myself, Bite by Bite, is presented like a phenakistoscope, a classic Victorian animation machine. If you thought picture discs and colored vinyl were cool (both mediums you Graveface aficionados will know a lot about), wait until you get a load of William Schaff's painstaking, brilliantly delivered design. It's truly a remarkable accomplishment in the annals of the Album as Artform, which is a hallmark of Graveface Records.