Cagliostro by A Death Cinematic


A Death Cinematic | Cagliostro
Simple Box Construction (CD/DL)

Though they have been around a dozen years now, this is my introduction to the intricate work of A Death Cinematic (and Simple Box Construction). This release is all pieced together in a handmade wooden box with various prints, die-cuts, silver foil, paint – all hand numbered in a slip-cased edition under 100 – a sumptious presentation. For Cagliostro the ensemble consists of:

Artists + Eidolons*:
Brian Sheehan / Legerdemain
Nate Cieslak / Red Devil Made This
Calvin Waterman
Original Score by: A Death Cinematic
Additional Music provided by: Gnaw Their Tongues
w/Performances by: Sydnee
Bones/Taxidermy provided by: Kyle Askew
Additional Installations by: Stevie Baka
* Pat Mackler
* Sydney Bryngelson
* Cheyenne Spring
* Vince Vente


The bassline that opens this reminds me of something from one of the early Cure albums, gloomy, shoegazing thrum. The atmosphere on a lamentation of a dying angel in the canyons of black defeat is mellow + melancholy, but there’s a rhythm moving through this, almost like a snake moves through rocky grounds out for prey. This is where goth collides with chamber music, sparked by the ghosts of prog rock – right as a superimposed drone washes over the melodic blurry twang.

On to those creatures of benevolence beset with incurable sorrows we are receiving broken transmissions backlit in a white light that seems to perk up the micro bits of percussion and other disembodied goings-on. The distortion break, dissolve and repeat over an otherwise musty drone that is fleeting and mild, like a gentle wave.  At times this plays on the nature of natural breezes, with anticipation of some type of precipitation or anomaly between earth and sky, and the wait is the tension, even in the deepest minimalism of amidst the most holy threefold wisdom. Notes from the related exhibition may be of some sustenance here:

“On February 2nd, 50 years ago, Cagliostro, the great adventurer and occultist, transcended the physical plane Leaving behind a legacy shrouded in rumor and superstition. In memoriam, his estate has been opened to the public and his collection made available. Explore the rooms of this historic 19th century haunted house, transformed into a gallery space for one night only.”

Though the offering breathes new life into so-called “dark ambient” this, at its core, is quite impactful in the reverse sense of anti-climaxes rather than overt dark or noisy tones for the sake of it. In fact, this is more a meditation on ambient music through the filter of archival sources ala Demdike Stare, Pie Corner Audio or even Bass Communion. This record doesn’t resemble the core of work by these artists as much as becomes a foil for their shadowy implications. And the bassline returns for the final piece, of their grandest features upon rapture and despair, and I am right back in line for a funereal procession with its levitating tone + twang. Towards the end this revs for the first time, increasing in velocity for a minute or so, as though taking last breaths, and then simply fades from view.

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