Gospel’s music oozes with a striking kind of venom; it seeps out of its skin like blood from a cut, and if it isn’t wrapped up in antiseptic it’ll quickly lead to an infection. And it’s already there, lying dormant on the surface (for now), but festering under the skin of a sick drone and awakening something inside, channelling through its veins and spreading its poison. A high fever emerges within the slabs of noise, its shrill and stressed tinnitus a response to dark, utterly cruel and heart-breaking episodes. It’s a cry of pain and it’s also the releasing of pain, a letter sent to Deliverance, and an inoculation against the resurfacing of torturous childhood memories, their only intent to derail a stable state of mind.
I remember being 6 years old, locked in a closet and screaming and beating on the door until I couldn’t feel my hands…
Let’s be clear: Gospel doesn’t fuck around. Matt Finney’s spoken word is a raw, leaking flow of toxicity, and it matches Siavash Amini’s drone-work in terms of intensity. This is an ongoing horror in the headphones, but it’s also a collaboration of rare honesty. The outlet of music is his saviour here.
I knew crying didn’t work. It didn’t work all of the other times. I stopped after a while…
The New Testament is all about a relationship with Christ. Gospel is also about a relationship, but it’s an abusive one. One is born from pure light, the other an oily, demon-driven darkness. Good and evil are opposites, but evil has infiltrated the church, too. Sexual abuse has made a poisonous nest there, and in a place where only love and peace should reign. Abusers have hidden inside a beautiful message, disguising themselves in their own secret ills and disgusting acts, telling others to confess while keeping their own sins a secret. It took one brave soul to expose sexual abuse within the church; the rest followed. Similarly, Finney’s accounts are exceptionally brave and bold, and the music follows.
We got the news that he’d died alone in that house. It was 3 weeks before anyone found him. There’s still a part of me in there with him that I’ll never get back…
The terror is unrelenting. The drone spirals into the blackest of the black, and the explicit spoken word is all the more powerful – and sickening – for its authenticity. The music creeps into the space, opening slowly, like the horrific creek of a door at one in the morning. But much like the Gospel itself, the words are a remedy, a relief, and a hope. A catharsis is taking place, and this cocoon leads to transformation. And as Finney recites these plagued incantations, he’s performing another substitution. He’s expelling sickness, and the music is taking it for him. There’s a strand of hope even in the darkest of places. We need to get this out there. We need to get it into the light of day. Cut off the head of the snake. The ink burns into the paper, taking on the sin of others with the lashings of the pen, and dealing with it once and for all.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30