Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
It's a man-sized, bulky pile of time that Brendon Massel has spent driving around this country. He's spent solitary time processing all of the many things that pass through and beyond a head and he's got ways to make them work for him, to make them swirl and ooze and light out with a new upholstering when he's used them up like batteries. He's taken time to cut out for a foreign country, to live and write while living with barely known Scottish half-strangers.
The details of his stay there are hazy now to your narrator, but if hazy memory serves, there were incredibly delightful stories of homemade soups and other kitchen adventures - breads rising, recipes being tried for the first time - and isolation from worries, responsibilities and constructs. If that's not how it went down, it does sound like an appealing way to do it the next time around in another life or just next year or something. Massel's been prolifically keeping track of all his daydreamings, rooting problems and folkloric brambles as Viking Moses for a good many years now and his recording output doesn't even match all that's been flowing during those agonizingly demanding hauls between shows for what could be anywhere between a few and dozens of people. He finds himself thinking about clowns and thinking about old girlfriends and old places that are now behind him, a direction that provides a ridiculous amount of inspiration, for everyone, including him. It's there when all of the details can be read as evidence, can be entertained as the pleats of an extravagant fabric that's more like the continuous scroll that Jack pecked out his road-raging masterpiece while blitzed out on cocktails and hallucinogens.
He sings of a land covered in snow in "Passed Through The Bones," a song with a temperament of brittle sticks holding up a story of something so brazen as a burglarizing of strength, taking the piss and marrow out of the bones of another person, replacing what they were made of with a vaporous soul just looking to eavesdrop a little and move on to regular living, already in progress. Massel's voice, or the Viking Moses voice always reaches me like a soft pillow, with that deep crater in the middle of it where a sleeping head had recently been bowling. It's almost a familiar drop in, an unconscious wave from one person to the next, a peripheral glance that's wry and full of different meanings. There must always be wheels and gears finding the matching and turning teeth on the other side, locking in with them and then grinding together to make whatever kind of determination is going to be made. Massel must count on those gears knowing what they're doing, leaving the luck in the hands of those mysterious miserly mechanisms, looking for the wretched and therefore the most fascinating of concerns. It comes out in an almost loss of concern in his presentation, as if by the time he sings his words, they've been bailed out. They're now just stories and they're bendable and free, they're like bumper cars and the silence that rings through the air and turf just after the recoiling impacts.
Viking Moses Official Site