Music in Meshes
Like many of the formative films in American avant-garde cinema, Meshes of the Afternoon is honestly very odd. A silent short film released independently in 1943 by directing couple Maya Deren and Alexander Hamid, the 18-minute film works in spirals, focusing on what appears to be a nightmare a woman (Maya Deren) experiences in her home. ‘Appears’ is a key word here, as each sequence seems to mesh onto the other becoming ruled by dream logic in a way that seems both enchanting and sometimes frighteningly out of control. While Meshes features no jump scares and isn’t ‘scary’ in a traditional horror sense, it’s a project that constantly leaves you at the blurred line between uncanny and sublime, uncomfortable and sensual—the sort of feeling that gives you goose pricks on the back of your neck.
With that in mind, here’s a short list of hidden gems and modern classics, inspired by Meshes of the Afternoon:
DOOPEES – DOOPEE TIME
A hidden gem I happened upon a few days ago, DOOPEE TIME (1995) feels like an audio mood board of the twentieth century, or like a message where each letter is cut up from an old magazine. With influences ranging from The Beach Boys to Björk, DOOPEES condenses a variety of musical textures together in a way that sometimes feels uncanny — for example, the choppy instrumentals used in the titular track, “DOOPEE TIME” — and other times, pretty and sublime, like in “DR.DOMESTIC’S PHYSICAL EFFECT #2 - ELECTRONIC COLORED TONE AND STRINGS.” Between reimagined song covers, space age soundscapes, and interspersed theatrics, DOOPEE TIME is a great aesthetic partner to Meshes of the Afternoon.
Lingua Ignota – SINNER GET READY
Though it was released just six months ago, SINNER GET READY feels like a classic, and is an incredible command of a unique aesthetic. Best listened to at 2 A.M., alone, and in the dark, Lingua Ignota’s record heightens American Christian folklore, turning its recognizable themes and sounds into brooding swan songs (“PENNSYLVANIA FURNACE”) and jarring, yet familiar tales of sin and repentance (“I WHO BEND THE TALL GRASSES”). Medieval and modern instruments mesh together to seize your soul and take it to a holy liminal space.
Daphne Oram – Oramics
Daphne Oram, one of the founding figures of electronic music, composed a variety of synthetic, otherworldly music in her BBC Workshop between 1958 and 1977. Every song featured in this compilation feels somehow both foriegn and known – irregularly placed found sounds (“Power Tools”; “Birds of Parallax”) and instruments that are either beeps and boops or warbling orchestra strings. Oramics, only available on YouTube, is very much the progenitor of DOOPEE TIME, though is more like the twentieth century of another dimension. Another 2 A.M. soul snatcher!
Björk – Post
There’s a scene in Meshes of the Afternoon where the woman is enveloped in silk curtains as her torso is suspended above her window sill. *That* is this album. A revered 1995 classic, Post makes the Meshes-in-the-Afternoon music canon by its indulgence of dark, churning rhythms (“Enjoy”), romance (“Isobel”), and every part of “I Miss You.” Björk’s exploration with electronic clicks, African drums, and literal screaming creates one of my favorite hypnotic soundscapes.
// Nina Ijomanta ‘24 is a guest writer for Record Hospital