Donor Lens - Desire Path
May 6, 2022
There is something truly wonderful and sickly about the Americanised halloween concept. A time of year that instantly conjures up images of kids scattering themselves about houses in oversized suburban roads, making themselves nuisances under cover of night. That beautiful feeling of the supernatural looms over everything and the two worlds of Americana and the horrific seem so close to each other. It is this sort of aesthetic that P A T H S パス speaks to on The Last Halloween. Recorded almost entirely on a Moog Opus 3, the album released on Pacific Plaza Records and promises a unique sort of scare.
A deep rumbling begins the first track. Fictitious though it is, the artist frames the project much like the soundtrack of a movie or video game. This opener is labelled the title theme of The Last Halloween, combine that with the incredible film-esque artwork by kazoheen and the inspiration P A T H S パス has pulled from horror flicks and games is evident. The rumbling noise begins to form into slow, steady breathing from a enormous set of lungs. Footsteps can be heard on gravelly ground, and as heavy synth begins a macabre melody, it certainly feels as though we’ve witnessed the supernatural’s entrance into our world at the very start. The artist’s imaginative use of the analog synthesiser is conveyed, one melody pounding lower notes so deep it almost sounds granulated, the other melody a creepy, soaring reverbed chime. As frequencies waver in the grouping of low notes, one could swear they hear the cackles of some demon hoard descending on a quiet cul-de-sac through the darkness of the woods just out of town. A kick drum and snare begin to hammer against the thick synth layers driving the steady march onwards, and as they fall away the army of the damned reach the clearing and take their first few steps onto a road a little too near our vicinity.
Walking Alone Is Not Safe Tonight begins with an airy melody. In the second part of the chord progression the notes jerk upwards unsteadily, adding to the peculiar aesthetic. A droning bassline starts, its enormous mouth opening slightly as the tone gets a little more resonant. An odd glow protrudes from the track as oscillations slowly detune into a dissonant mess. Again, in the throng of sound one can make out odd sounds. Almost metallic in nature, at points it certainly sounds like the squeals of impish villains, or even the shrieks of innocent animals caught in their path. With the droning characteristics, P A T H S パス engineers this evil that slowly absorbs everything in its path.
Resonant melodies bend in and out of tune as Prowling The Streets, as the middle-ground notes droop a doppler effect is created. Maybe the sheriff’s department has been warned and we are hearing the slow and shrill siren as their car drives away from our location. A higher frequency melody begins shooting laser-like sounds over the top of the dreary whirring synths, and the sound P A T H S パス produces could almost be likened to post-punk bands like Bauhaus. There is a definite similarity to the gothic droning of bands from the 70s and 80s in what must be another nod to horror flicks of that time. Strange warping of sounds brings in those visions of the supernatural once again, as fiendish laughter meshes with fluctuating oscillations.
An unfortunate civilian becomes the next target on Hunted Down. Though the instrument’s sound is similar to the lead section before, the melody is a lot more direct. It is almost as if we’ve taken on the villains field of vision as they begin to close in on an unsuspecting victim. The bassline piles on more menace with a deep and discordant sequence. As the motif begins again, P A T H S パス includes a chattering percussive section, the machinations of the killer slowly coming to fruition. Whipping strands of sound spin frantically as we watch the outstretched hands grip the trick or treater. The artist continues to provide this warping, demented window into a horrific halloween gone wrong.
Uncanny white noise as we move onto The Pile... Its overtly sinister title supported by the sounds of what could be some meat cleaving machine’s rusty jaw opening and shutting. The sound of a helicopter overhead brings hope for us as we awake in what seems to be a monstrous scene of blood and bodies. But the light we thought we saw from a chopper becomes the droning artificial light of the tiled carving room. The sounds that bend and shift in tune bringing a horrible realisation of our doom, as if we watch the footsteps of the strange beast as they walk around admiring their halloween collection. The finality of the situation is conveyed expertly as P A T H S パス brings the tone down step by step, the lower frequencies pulsing like the throbbing in our head as we are picked up by the villain and dangled by our feet, seconds away from demise.
A deformed and fiendishly playful tune sets out a scene ravaged by the forces of evil on Desecrated O’Lanterns. Distorted drums seep in past the low whir of bass notes, screeching synth sounds affirm that the quiet suburban town has almost completely succumb to the forces of evil. There is a great throbbing sound emanating from the skies above as the drumwork and menacing melodies represent the villainous forces hard at work. P A T H S パス works with that horrible aesthetic lifted from the seediest of horror movies in which the human races doom was already mapped out from the start. The evils of the supernatural were inevitably too strong, and now have complete control of the realm of the real.
Unbelievably, a few kids are so wrapped up in halloween glee they haven’t craned their necks to see the reddening sky or the horror that lurks around the street corners. The demon cohort set their sights on the remaining dregs of children in Last Round of Trick or Treaters, the detuned and dissonant melodies depict a scene of wicked power. Images similar to that of the beautiful album artwork spring to mind, the last few innocent children swept up into the mouth of the beast. Even in its wildly unkempt state, the melody still communicates this deep evil that is at play, a chord progression almost funereal in its sound.
The ultimate demise slowly nears, the whole town swallowed into the bowels of the sinful demons. Only one remains, and they are not going without giving chase. P A T H S パス sets out a pacy and emotively awake melody as the Final Body is hunted down through the streets that used to be so harmless and calm. The beat of the kick fades in, the unfaltering step of the monster just behind us, turning every corner and jumping every fence with just a little more grace and agility than us. Suddenly we trip and fall. All of the urgency cuts out, and there is an odd feeling of serenity. We sit in the middle of a street nearby our house, a mere few steps from safety. A strange light appears ahead of us, a glimmer of hope? Unfortunately not. With the rising of a high-pitched synth, the evil swarms and envelops us. The final soul caught and ready to be harvested.
Our viewpoint becomes that of the evil forces as we join them in their victory over the American suburb community. The melody is slow and relaxed in its delivery, the evil creatures taking their time now that their is no possibility that victory can be snatched from their hands. This slow tune gradually wears away at the listener, we begin to see the demons join together in a circle. Swaying along with the melody as the surroundings darken, and all hope is snuffed out. P A T H S パス accentuates this feeling, the track being the longest on the album, really pushing forth that horrible feeling that evil has triumphed over humanity. The ritual picks up its pace as a kick drum drives it forward. The master of the cohort descends from high above, grinning with delight. The lower sections of the instrumentation almost start to sound religious in their make-up, like the droning bass tones are being played on a church organ. Glimpses of a much more austere religious symbolism, the triumph of the devious and dark over the light.
It is there that our cinematic experience comes to a close. Not before P A T H S パス wraps things up with a euphoric closer as our gaze rests on an Open Gateway, and the horde of demons make their way back to their realm. Dramatic piano notes reach out into a reverberating space before being pushed forward by an eerily low bass section. There is a little more freedom in the closer, the pressure of the storyline alleviated, the artist is more flexible in there composition. With screeching, resonant lead synths and stuttering percussion, that feeling of a 80s horror is still very much apparent. That weird sensation at the end of a horror film pervades our experience. It sounds so much like there is still a story tell, even though the human race has been decimated by beings of malice.
Halloween is a time to delight in the macabre, to let your sense of comfort slip that little bit. As one gets older, their sense of halloween morphs from a time to run around your hometown with your friends knocking on doors, to revelling in sickly glow of scary films until the early hours. P A T H S パス melds these two experiences together wonderfully. An atmosphere is created strikingly similar to a horror film. The concept behind the album allows the artist to lead the listener down dark and creepy pathways to a satisfyingly morbid end.