Starting off on a very limited run of just 500 copies, Self Spiller have evidently decided that Worms in the Keys (Varia) should not stay restricted from the world any longer and reissued the LP. The project led by Jason Walton of Agalloch, alongside fellow band member Don Anderson, is an ambitious piece comprising of 14 members from across the globe. Most of the contributors can boast some serious history, with Sigh’s Dr. Mikannibal and Mirai Kawashima, the latter also playing for US based Necrophagia part of the fold. All this comes together to form an unusual; unique; almost indescribable sound that virtually defies categorisation.
Comprising of layer upon layers of different pieces, the album takes capsules of previous work spanning 6 years from the artists, brought together by Walton and layered into an avant-garde culmination of sound. Rather than feeling fractured and disconnected however, the many different pieces of music have been arranged in a way that seems to make sense together (well, sort of). The result? A surprisingly enjoyable piece, although not altogether flowing. Numerous voice layers backed with distorted guitars break suddenly into classical piano or a jazzy saxophone sections. If you were hoping the vocals might provide some form of story to tie it all together, think again. The snippets make a disturbing and broken narrative that is virtually impossible to piece together into a fully formed entity.
Worms in the Keys is brave and bold project that has been executed with extreme skill to form what is an oddly enjoyable album that is hard to turn off. Do I remember any of the songs? Well, no. Snippets stand out but it’s often hard to grasp whole tracks even while listening to the album. It really is a piece that demands either your full attention or nothing at all. Those that do take the time to give this album a try will find a record that it has bridged avant-garde madness while remaining fun. It may not be the most memorable of pieces as a whole, but it is refreshingly engaging as it challenges everything you thought you understood about modern music.