Death Aria – Lost Media

2.13.23 by Ryan Masteller

I figured I’d go out on a clumsier note, nothing graceful. The body’s not built for grace at the end: you either get old and wither away, get sick and make a mess for a bit before succumbing, or get splattered and, sure, make an even bigger mess while succumbing instantly (if you’re lucky). Regardless, there’ll be that last moment when the breath leaves you, when your lungs simply can’t expand anymore and take in oxygen, and the sound will be appropriately horrible and feeble. That’s why they call it a “death rattle.” 

But there’s an alternative that we haven’t thought about, one that our fine friends at No Rent Records in Philly are eager for us to discover. (Well, maybe not too eager; they only made 100 copies of this thing, so maybe it’s actually an exclusive secret?) Why not a – wait for it – Death Aria? Like, instead of focusing on the immediate and terminal trauma, maybe we can train our minds to experience a euphonous hum or even the Universal Om when it comes time to expire and be absorbed into the cosmos or sink into oblivion or slap Saint Peter the most righteous high-five you can muster at the Pearly Gates. Death Aria’s “Lost Media”: a minimal synthesizer opera to draw existential attention at the moment of expiration and accompany the pending spirit across the threshold into whatever’s next.

Not hyperbole; not without merit. Death Aria examines the cold expanse of transition and composes brutally appropriate meditations in the face of the overwhelming inevitable. But they do so with the lightest, sweetest melancholic touch that just perfectly captures the balance of disbelief and acceptance. While the highlight of course is the gracious ambience of burial preparation and utter reverence for the deceased and the spiral of connection beginning with those closest and proceeding ever outward, the effect isn’t possible without the feedback and electronic disturbance smeared across each track. The combination points toward easy rest, but with turbulence on the road to it. It feels cosmic, all-encompassing, ecumenical. Spiritual. Attainable.

Or maybe this is all nonsense – we’ll see what happens when I’m at the right hand of the Lord following the Rapture. Still, those triumphal horns might not sound quite as nice as “Lost Media”… Who’s to say. I’ll probably end up riding my dirt bike off a cliff anyway. Death rattle.

Released in September 2022, this tape is eminently unavailable from the label (sold out, sucka), and I am one of ten on Discogs who claim it in their collection. Maybe if you’re lucky I’ll stake my copy in a fight (but I’ll win). Downloads is free, feed your iPod. (What do you mean they don’t make iPods anymore?)