REVIEW: Virile Games’ “Wounded Laurel”

 photo VirileGames_cover_zpsb488310d.jpg Wounded Laurel (Hospital Productions) is a project from Virile Games, the creation of Max Gudmunson. The music here is on the experimental/avant-garde side, with noise, drone, and minimalism carrying it through. “Military Saints I” sounds like an electronic drone in the front while bombs falling in the vicinity decorate the background. The primary drone turns into something else throughout the piece, all while the bombs continue to fall. “Military Saints II” could easily be a long walk down a field of dead bodies, with nowhere to go but through the sight and smell of non-existence. “Plague Saints I” could be everything from old hospital recordings to operating room sounds, to old military warehouse scrapings. “Plague Saints II” sounds like what one might hear in a hospital, from an opera radio station playing, or is that a church choir calling people to enter a room of death while a low drone digs into a consciousness? “Firmament” and “Diadem”, on the other hand, are spiritual drones that carry the listener very slowly from one place to the other, as if someone had taken a snapshot and decided to enter it in order to explore the surroundings of a still life.

Not sure what the Wounded Laurel title refers to, maybe it’s revealing, in sound, what others have neglected or forgotten and bringing it to a new context. The sounds found here are very much wounded in tone, and maybe Gudmunson is merely trying to revive its soul one last time before it is placed into the ground for a potential revival in the future.

(For those who prefer to hear their music on cassette, a limited edition double cassette version is exclusively available from Mount Analog. Only 59 copies have been pressed.)

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