A review of Abraham King's Mark of the Mess:
Mark of the Mess is a six song EP that lingers, like having the sense that you just saw a ghost while half-asleep. It could easily be mistaken for a new Woodsist release. But it's not. It's a homegrown EP by Adam Eisler, available on cassette and CD-R from Hot Air Press.
My first listen was like waking up in a rocking chair on the front porch as it is just about to start raining. Mark of the Mess has the verdant texture of kudzu covered ruins at the bottom of a valley. Never Thirsty, Never Drinking is by far the most intense track on the EP. It is a rich lo-fi recording of delicate acoustic strumming and distant vocals wrapped warmly in a blanket of analog hiss. A reverbed sigh of an electric guitar sneaks in behind the acoustic on some of the bluesier songs, as on Two Jackals Go Roaming, bringing to mind recent Josephine Foster.
Mark of the Mess is hard to pin down, though. I ended up reaching for a couple of records to compare Mark of the Mess to, but there wasn't any single recording that was a fitting reference. It's not as obfuscated as any Jandek, but is at times as eerie. There are suggestions of the moods that Robbie Basho stirred up once upon a time, but the Eastern influences Basho used are only hinted at in Mark of the Mess. The Body of a Whale is the first cousin of Chad VanGaalen's Rabid Bits of Time, but the overall similarity with VanGaalen is the open use of arrangements and sounds that you just don't get in more straight ahead music, let alone folk.
However it's described, Adam Eisler has discovered more than a mere idea, but rather a being, an Abraham King. There is an uncanny sense that this being is at once familiar and foreign. And yet it seems Eisler has found within that very contradiction the stamp of life, the Mark of the Mess.
review by Jason Devin