Near Death Experience

Vinyl LP
Published by: Erratum

Vocals by Bryan Lewis Saunders except Track 5 vocals by Joachim Montessuis and Track 6 vocals by Marcelo Aguirre.

Produced, mixed, mastered and edited in 2010 by Joachim Montessuis

Photographs by Alice Lane
Art design by Felix Rosier

LP comes with a link to a Download of the Album + 9 Bonus Tracks and an Illustrated PDF Book with Text.

Edition of 500
  • 1 - The Social Masochist: Christopher Fleeger - 1:55
  • 2 - Hide And Play Dead: M. Peck - 7:24
  • 3 - Subject In Question: John Duncan - 6:36
  • 4 - The Store: Christopher Fleeger - 3:17
  • 5 - Promethazine: Joachim Montessuis - 1:58
  • 6 - Near Death Experience: Spastic Dementia - 5:24
  • 7 - PCP Poetry: Joachim Montessuis - 3:15
  • 8 - Methanol: Kaontrol Kontraos - 3:56
  • 9 - Brain Death: Murmurists - 3:41
  • 10 - I Am A Vulture: Joachim Montessuis - 3:55
Near Death Experience

Tracks A1and A4 recorded by Christopher Fleeger, FL 2008.

Tracks A2, A5, B1, B2, recorded in 2007 by Joachim Montessuis at KHM - Academy of Media Arts in Köln in David Larcher's final Blalab seminar "non-dit".

Track A3 vocals recorded live by Jason Mckinney, TN 2006. Music recorded by John Duncan at O'Artoteca in Milan, 2006.

Track B1 recorded and mixed by Rainer Robben at Audio Cue in Berlin between 09/09 and 01/10. Spastic Dementia is Marcelo Aguirre on drums, scream and guitar-like gutterals.

Track B3, vocals recorded by Bryan Lewis Saunders, TN 2008. Music recorded by Todd Burris, TN 2007.

Track B4 recorded by Anthony Donovan, Northampton 2007.

Track B5, recorded by Bryan Lewis Saunders, TN 2009.

LP comes with a link to a Download of the Album + 9 Bonus Tracks and an Illustrated PDF Book with Text.
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Complete Track Listing:

1- The Social Masochist - Music by Christopher Fleeger
2- Hide And Play Dead - Music by Michael Peck
3- PCP Poetry - Music by Joachim Montessuis
4- Subject In Question - Music by John Duncan
5- The Store - Music by Christopher Fleeger
6- If My Mother And I Were Monkeys - Bryan Lewis Saunders
7- Promethazine - Music by Joachim Montessuis
8- If I Was A Cat - Music by Christopher Fleeger
9- I Quit – Bryan Lewis Saunders
10- My Deepest Darkest Fears - Music by Kaontrol Kontraos
11- Near Death Experience - Music by Spastic Dementia
12- Methanol - Music by Kaontrol Kontraos
13- Brain Death - Music by Murmurists
14- Mercury - Music by Kaontrol Kontraos
15- The Meaning Of Life - Music by Tracy Lee Summers
16- Death Of A Loser - Bryan Lewis Saunders
17- TV Poetry - Bryan Lewis Saunders
18- Gibberish - Music by Joachim Montessuis
19- I Am A Vulture - Music by Joachim Montessuis

Arrgh! This is a horrifying record. Be prepared for some extreme psychological discomfort from these spoken-word pieces which are delivered with frightening passion and energy, along with some very unsettling musical backdrops. The voice parts are all the invention of Saunders and are performed by him; they could only be performed by him in fact, as they seem torn from terrifying fragments of deeply personal traumas which are too vivid for words. The musical parts are provided by a long list of guest collaborators, including Christopher Fleeger, M. Peck, and others named below. This is undoubtedly the most alarming and cathartic record I’ve ever heard and I advise listeners to approach with caution!

‘Social Masochist’ seems manageable enough, a bracing dose of physical pain and agony expressed in words, palatable to any fan of Butthole Surfers records from the 1980s. But then comes ‘Hide and Play Dead’, which starts off detailing childhood fears of persecution and abduction in harrowing detail; Saunders seems to crawl right inside your brain and probe the areas you don't want probed. The tone of the voice is verging on hysterical at the start, and it soon becomes more panicked and desperate as the scenario quickly turns into a complete nightmare of sickening child abuse. Yuk! I had to reach for the volume control; I couldn’t face hearing this.

‘Subject In Question’ is like a clinical report on symptoms of mental illness. Saunders reads it out relentlessly in his insistent voice as though he’s firing bullets at the listener. The tirade starts out insane and also follows the pattern of going completely bonkers in the middle of the track, laced with a stream of four-letter words, accusing God…all of this is too close for comfort, a graphic depiction of a life and mind on the edge. John Duncan provides the music for this piece, for which "dilemma" is nowhere near strong enough. On ‘The Store’, the simple act of going out shopping (misleadingly disguised as a simple text like something from See Spot Run) turns very nasty in short order, resulting in an escalating catalogue of theft, crime, violence, madness, scatology and child abuse. Bad things are all he sees, everywhere, all the time. The sound effects of the shop in the background don’t help; they only bring the nightmare closer to us.

‘Promethazine’ is pure body horror, incredibly rendered in words and sound in vivid ways that exceed anything that could be produced by a Hollywood torture-porn movie. Grotesque sound effects and music by Joachim Montessuis enhance the evil of this bad acid trip. I’m feeling nauseous. Can I face the B side? B1 is the title track which depicts another bad trip, this time detailing the unbelievable delirium and rush of unpleasant images with astonishing conviction. Philip K. Dick meets the Butthole Surfers on this cut with its aggressive percussion music and sneering rock guitars courtesy of Spastic Dementia. Amazingly, Spastic Dementia made all of those black metal guitar sounds with his mouth, and used 17 tracks of drums.

‘PCP Poetry’ begins as an alphabet of street names for PCP. Saunders barks them out to the accompaniment of a threatening buzzy drone from Montessuis, then flips out as he recites extreme horror stories of drug abuse and the unspeakable things people do when they’re on drugs. Unspeakable to anyone but Bryan Lewis Saunders, that is. I expect the reality is even worse than this, but not by much! " drug shouldn't have so many street names, not even weed," reports Saunders in an email to this magaizne. "That's what makes it so scary to people's psyche I guess. It has nothing to do with crack, it is ALL about experiences with PCP believe it or not." Then for ‘Methanol’, he conveys the effect of actually being on drugs, with a performance and musical progression that (I guess) exactly matches the unstoppable rush of “huffing methanol” into the brain. The crashing reverbed noise by Kaontrol Kontraos is highly apt. This is actually about the most listenable cut on this strong and confrontational record.

That said, things start to calm down for the last two tracks. ‘Brain Death’ is another set of clinical catalogues straight from the hospital's emergency wing, a doctor reciting the circumstances of his own death to the tune of almost-beautiful cold and abstracted music from Murmurists. The last track is the monologue of a vulture, reminding us that not only will everything end in death, but also that our rotting carcasses are just more morsels of food for his ravenous beak. A fitting end to this grisly record whose abiding message seems to be that life is brutally painful and inhuman, so you decide to take drugs to escape it; then the drugs cause even worse things to happen, and then you die – and you find your troubles are only just beginning.

However, I don’t want to minimise the power of this extraordinary and shocking record. After a history of creating records themed on drug abuse, mental illness and institutionalisation, this LP confirms Saunders as a master of his own virulent brand of performance art. If acting is about “inhabiting” the character, then Saunders succeeds to an extreme degree, even if the characters are not ones you particularly want to meet! - Ed Pinsent (TSP20)