One weekend in 1947, teenaged filmmaker, music video forefather, fledgling occultist, and eventual Mick Jagger collaborator Kenneth Anger shoots a short film of homoerotic surrealism called Fireworks in his parents’ empty house in Beverly Hills.
The stated intention is to capture “the explosive pyrotechnics of a dream,” and it does so with ghostly brutality, distilling a potent, symbolically charged amalgam of desire, dread, violence, and the tentative trappings of magick that would occupy Anger (an Aleister Crowley acolyte) in later years.
Almost seventy years later, Dream All Over, the fourth full-length album by the cinematically-minded Los Angeles rock and roll band Gun Outfit—and their first with Paradise of Bachelors—describes a comparable flickering and dimming of dreams, that moment when the lights go up, and the “temporary relief” of sleep’s “imaginary displays” dissolves into stark, deadening lucidity.
The songs are suffused with a slyly cynical hangover/hangman’s humor that evokes, from the perspective of “a stranger / getting stranger still,” L.A.’s disorienting simulacrum kingdom of crawling pictures: “I looked familiar in a foreign land / I couldn’t speak, but I could understand / From another life I rode / Into a desert of my own / And when I put my blanket down / I’m going to dream all over” (“Legends of My Own”).
The dangerous California obliquely mapped by Gun Outfit herein bears little resemblance to Tinseltown fantasies, except insofar as the incantatory dialogues of singers Carrie Keith (guitar, vocals, slide) and Dylan Sharp (guitar, vocals, banjo, balalaika) throw off a muted, wary carnal heat, the lingering afterimage of spent desire. (“Isn’t enchantment what we like?” asks the song “In Orbit,” dubiously.)
Instead the inscape drawn through Dream All Over navigates the dark side of the moon—the Hollywood Babylon L.A. of Kenneth Anger and David Lynch, Father Yod and Charlie Manson, muscle cars and drought—as reflected upon a pair of road-weary human hearts. As Dylan sings in “Only Ever Over,” “Out here on the West coast where the ocean eats the sun / We’ve known for a long time the end’s already come.”
This event is presented by Digital in Berlin. Check out our Facebook page to win tickets.
Kometenmelodien w/ Gun Outfit
Monday, 29 February 2016 | 20:00 CET
Kantine am Berghain | Am Wriezener Bahnhof | 10243 Berlin/Friedrichshain