• H.P. Lovecraft - The Hound & The Music Of Erich Zann

    H.P. Lovecraft - The Hound & The Music Of Erich Zann
    Released by: Cadabra Records
    Released on: February 5th, 2016.
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    Just in time for Howard Phillips Lovecraft’s 125th birthday comes the Cadabra Records release of two of the late author’s stories, The Hound and The Music Of Erich Zann, presented as a spoken word album read by Andrew Leman. For those not familiar with Leman’s output, he’s a partner of the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, a professional actor and an experienced audio performer. In short, he ‘gets it’ when it comes to Lovecraft. The sounds over which Lewman reads the two stories are provided by Teratoma Sound Lab.

    The Hound runs just a few seconds shy of twenty minutes in length. The story revolves around a nameless male narrator and his friend named St. John. The two men are essentially grave robbers, they spend their free time pillaging crypts in search of mementos that they in turn display in the home they share. They have, basically, set up a museum of horror in a secret room ‘far, far underground.’ When they learn of a specific grave in a Holland cemetery in which a fellow graver robber has been laid to rest, the same man who stole a “potent thing from an mighty sepulcher” they decide to dig him up to see if the stories are true. It takes them a while to get there, but get there they do and when they reach the cemetery they hear, in the distance, the howls of a dog. They pay it no mind and get to work, dig up the coffin and find that the body inside shows evidence of having been attacked by an animal and that it is adorned with an amulet, one that they know from The Necronomicon belonged to ‘Arab Abdul Alhazred.’ They swipe the amulet and head home, but that dog keeps howling in the background. Upon their return, they still hear the hound, and shortly after, St. John is attacked by some sort of animal. The narrator figures the only way to set this right is to return the amulet, but when it is stolen from him, he realizes that this might be much harder than it first seemed.

    The Music Of Erich Zann is also just a hair under twenty minutes in length. This story follows our narrator, an unnamed university student studying metaphysics. He’s broke, and as such, has no choice but to head to a street named Rue d'Auseill in search of an affordable apartment. He is unable to find anyone familiar with it, but eventually he gets there and finds an apartment in a sparsely populated building. He moves in and meets an old German man named Erich Zann, a mute violin player who plays with the city orchestra. Zann lives above the narrator and plays bizarre music to himself late at night. As the student strikes up a strange friendship with Zann, he then learns the truth about Zann’s music and that it is played to keep unholy creatures from another dimension at bay. When our narrator takes it upon himself to look out Zann’s window, he sees not the world outside he’s familiar with but instead finds he is staring into the abyss…

    Lewman reads Lovecraft’s stories well. He’s calm when the stories start but as they build and they start to become increasingly bizarre, his voice reflects the impending doom that we all know is coming. He doesn’t overdo it, which would have been an easy trap to fall into, but delivers well paced and decidedly determined readings that are quite listenable and entertaining. The background sounds from Teratoma Sound Lab work quite well. They don’t overshadow Lewman’s reading but instead compliment them, enhancing the weirdness inherent in Lovecraft’s work without distracting from it.

    Cadabra Records has more Lovecraft releases planned for the coming year. If they’re done as well, and as respectfully, as this one is then that can only be a good thing.