Figure – When the Alphabet Hides In Your Mouth

The music of Figure (which is Brannon Hungness) sounds like coming from an abandoned stage in an old theatre. (‘An opera with closed eyes open.’) On this stage there are a lot of figures that are moving slowly in an out of the shadows surrounding them. Figure appears on the stage then, and opens the zippers on their bodies to release some blood. Then, there is a medieval forest…

This is not my imagination but a part of the introduction to the first track of ‘When the alphabet hides in your mouth’, called ‘Distance (an emergence)’. All tracks have introductions like this in the booklet, sketching a scenario for the listener. One could complain this destroys the personal imagination, but it is nice that Figure leads you along the way, building a path for your mind to wander on. With closed eyes, and opened inner eyes.

Figure’s music is very hallucinogenic. The soundscapes are dark and dense, with organic sounds like bells, treated tuba and trumpet, and self recorded noises, but also with sizzling electronic sounds. The music is dominated however, by Hungness’ moaning, theatrical voice, which sounds like Rozz Williams’ corpse opening his decayed mouth. He overly stretches the vowels, making the singing more like an instrument.

The journey through the music is a strange one: there is no serenity in Figure, all tracks evoke a sense of antipathy and threat. There are mystical things lurking in the darkness. The only hints to get out of this awful place, come from the dead Rozz Williams, but the hints are made out of weird associations, coming from a late mind that ended itself.

Yes, this music is perfectly suited for headphone-listening in the dark. Very enjoyable also, because of the personal, unique soundscapes and creative mind of Figure. Maybe some listeners will be irritated by the theatrical laments of Hungness, which is sometimes a little overdone. For me, this is trivial because of the well done job in mood engineering.

artist: Figure
label: Static Signals
details: 7 tracks, 70 min, lim 100 cps, 2004 [ss0011]