Review: Druuna Jaguar – Memória Aumentada (Robert & Leopold, Jul 20)

There’s an important distinction to be made between “spooky” music and “scary” music. The former is the fun, festive tunes you hear come Halloween season each year—BOR-ING. Druuna Jaguar’s newest release Memória Aumentada is an example of the latter, the sort of music that deeply unsettles, sends inexplicable chills down the spine, evokes horrible isolation, fear, and existential despair. Unlike other notable instances of this (Penderecki’s “Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima,” Dolden’s “Below the Walls of Jericho,” etc.), Memória Aumentada is much more reserved, forgoing harrowing blasts of overwhelming discordance and hair-raising dissonance for creeping drones and cloying aquatic textures conjured entirely from manipulated field recordings. It is certainly a “dramatic pivot from visceral noise as a focal point” as stated in the description, but the extent to which the music stirs the deepest, unnamed emotions is not at all compromised. One feels intensely disconcerted by the contrast between ethereality and the uncomfortable closeness of the water recordings, the latter of which are almost presented as invasive violations. The final moments of “Musée Des Yeux Clos” produce intense dread via a tense drone that eventually dissolves into a confusing cacophony of delay-effect feedback and eviscerated human speech. The piece ends, however, with yet another appearance of dripping, sloshing liquid, further cementing its role as a successful counterpoint element. “Tillandsia” seems to tap into the subterranean underbelly of the Earth, summoning a bassy, barely perceptible seismic rumble, later complemented by the light, flitting textures of a field recording played backwards. If you’re looking to feel like whatever is happening on the album cover, like your soul has been ruthlessly dissolved and escapes your body through your face in horrific tendrils… fulfillment definitely awaits.