Friday, May 31, 2024

Cadabra Records - Story of the Eye

Only a few years into writing on this blog (May 2014), I had the idea of writing a post about the Eyehategod song "Story of the Eye". Eyehategod are a legendary band from New Orleans, Louisiana, who are noted as one of the early practitioners of sludge metal. The song "Story of the Eye"  is propelled by an awesome guitar riff and the vocal tirades of Mike IX Williams, all of which is completely indecipherable. Knowing that the song was named after a novel, I thought that I could read the novel and write something about it and the song. While I knew the novel had some level of notoriety, I was not fully prepared for it. Story of the Eye was written by the French philosopher Georges Bataille in 1928, and it follows the sexual exploits of two teenagers that become increasingly more debaucherous and depraved. After reading Story of the Eye, I was not sure what I even had to say about it, and being that the lyrics of the Eyehategod song were uninterpretable, I never wrote the blog post. Fast forward ten years, and I heard that Cadabra Records Cadabra Records was hosting a live reading/performance of Story of the Eye at the end of May in Philadelphia. I knew that I had to go, and maybe finally write something about Story of the Eye.

Cadabra Records is a record label that focuses on spoken word recordings of weird fiction, accompanied with musical scores specifically composed for each of the stories. For the past few years, Cadabra Records has hosted some reading events where they recreate some of their records in a live setting, with story being read live and the musical accompaniment performed alongside. I have been to a number of these events, and each of them has been an unforgettable experience. For the second to last weekend in May, Cadabra Records hosted a two day event where performance artist Laurence R. Harvey, and composers Slasher Film Festival Strategy and Chris Bozzone, performed Story of the Eye at Retro City Studios in Philadelphia. The event was open to a small collection of people and was recorded for a future Cadabra Records release.

When I arrived at Retro City Studio’s on the pleasant Saturday afternoon of May 18th, I found Laurence R. Harvey outside enjoying the weather and smoking a cigarette. I talked with him briefly and asked him if the text of Story of the Eye would be slightly abridged to fit it into two sessions. He told me that it did need to be abridged slightly to fit on two LP records. He did the abridgement himself, splitting the story into its two halves. The first being the portion of the story that takes place in France, and the second portion following the protagonists as they flee to Spain to escape punishment for their crimes. Since it had been approximately ten years since I read the novel, I was fairly certain I would not be able to notice whatever was removed (despite the length of time, there were distinct scenes from the novel that stuck with me, as one does not forget something as over-the-top and profane).

While the exterior of Retro City Studios may not be anything to write home about, it is an amazing facility that has been responsible for recording the vast majority of Cadabra Records’ incredible catalog.

Slasher Film festival Strategy (left), Laurence R. Harvey (middle), and Chris Bozzone (right) bringing to life Story of the Eye.

Laurence R. Harvey’s voice was deftly captured with this ElectroVoice RE20 microphone!

Please return in a few days for more about this event…

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