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Monday, April 17, 2006
  Opening And Closing Its Gigantic Doors

Blacklight Braille - "The Moon To Poolesville"

Here's one you might not read about in Arthur. Even in this boom time for unapologetic aural weirdness, this amorphous Cincinnati "fringe rock" band doesn't get much notice - a Google search pulls up a threadbare Allmusic listing, a shite "Wicca folk" page with a bunch of dead links, a few WFMU playlists and not a whole lot else. If anyone knows anything about this band that cannot be thus divined, please bend my ear. It would make me very happy.

I copped Blacklight Braille's Seachange CD in 1995. My erstwhile employer was gutting its music library, and the arcane track titles, long playing times and Corwood-level graphics caught my interest. Later, I wrote the band's mysterious Vetco label a longhand note, and received a Corwood-level gift of plastic and vinyl in return.

No arching description quite serves; if it's possible to chart the shifts in Blacklight Braille's lineup or the chronology of its vast catalogue, none has yet taken a swing. To paraphrase one of the few articles I could find, the "Fringe Rock" descriptor means it ain't quite rock, but it's definitely not anything else. If anything has kept the Braille from breaking into underground rock word-of-mouth, I'm guessing it's the consistently sleek production, which fosters a creepiness not of the sort that VU-weaned distortion-heads like.

This one, from the Carmarthen LP, spotlights the recitation of one Owen Knight, a then 60-something poet who taps into a different sort of Arthurian tradition. Years ago, I had the pleasure of speaking with Knight over the phone. I wonder if he's even still alive now.
 
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