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DS047 | 2020-08-28  
Is the fool foolish because they are a blank slate, or are they just foolish to think they can really start again? In the wake of total destruction and change, do we get to be something completely new? It is, of course, never that simple.

Created following a protracted brush with death and the development of a series of hallucinatory disorders, Fool Season is a brutal exploration of how to live when normality becomes impossible. Further, after crashing out of daily life, Jacob discovered that they're both autistic and trans. The body, brain and world are in constant dialogue for us to exist, but when these lines of communication break down new ways of being have to be found, else we simply float in a partially-imagined void.

Like Xiu Xiu on diazepam, like mid-period Mount Eerie playing in your childhood bedroom, like Felicia Atkinson fronting a shoegaze band, Fool Season is by turns searing, sprawling, intimate and tender, often at the same time. Building on the alienated Kranky-isms of previous record Outer Mongolia, Fool Season adds glitch, goth, emo and even ASMR colours to the canvas. Layers of droning guitars and organs mix with bird sounds, orchestral layers and mangled noise textures. At the centre of all this, Jacob's voice leads us through the chaos and detritus, alternating between singing with newfound clarity, and whispering with frantic terror.

Elements of other, failed songs are shifted and stretched to fit, bits of an older, doomed life repurposed and brought into the new. We cannot start completely from scratch, and our old lives will always haunt us, but we can draw on them to strengthen ourselves going forwards. Old stones on new foundations. Final track 'To Love This Body' subscribes to this completely. Inspired by Alex Zhang Hungtai's Divine Weight, parts of unfinished tracks are heavily manipulated and re-arranged into a sprawling, 26 minute drone monolith. The track captures the experience of a seizure in full, from a pervasive sense of wrongness to an all-consuming loss of control that disintegrates into abstraction, and finally the lingering sense of shame in the aftermath.

Amid all the bleakness, the confusion and the cosmic body horror, however, are moments of relief and beauty in the kindness of our friends. Almost-pop shoegazer 'Cosmic Shrapnel, Air Conditioning' encapsulates this most keenly, with Jacob thanking friends for all the empathy they've shown, before the track explodes in a wall of pure bliss. The comedown is quick and harsh, but for that brief time there is true joy. This is how we can go forward through the detritus and chaos of our lives and the world at large, by savouring every moment of happiness, and using them to drive us forward through the rest of the struggle. There are no easy answers, no quick endings, but with patience and sympathy we can get there.

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