We Love to Look at the Carnage the 5th album by Brooklyn’s Wrekmeister Harmonies, J.R. Robinson, and Esther Shaw, features frequent collaborator Thor Harris (Swans, Shearwater) percussion and Jamie Stewart (Xiu Xiu) electronics. The album was tracked in a cabin in the woods and mixed with Martin Bisi (Sonic Youth, Swans) at his BC Studios. Wrekmeister Harmonies, known for their large ensemble performances and intense recordings, create immense tension with spare arrangements and instrumentation. We Love to Look at the Carnage charts a restless journey beginning in the middle of the night and ending in the wee hours of the morning. Robinson’s brooding lyrics grapple with phantoms both real and imagined, apparitions amplified by the feverish anxiety of insomnia. Shaw’s ethereal vocals dueling with Robinsons baritone create a delicious tension. Her stellar keyboard and violin work are on full display providing moments of calm.
In keeping with the album’s stark lyrical content, much of We Love to Look at the Carnage was written in relative isolation. During the deep freeze of the New York winter, the duo decamped from their home in Brooklyn to a cabin in Woodstock. Wrekmeisters music has always drawn heavily on literature, this one is no exception. Influenced by Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, they find strength in stoicism. He explains: “hanging a more positive frame on the circumstances through the practice of negative visualization, …. things could always be worse”.
We Love to Look at the Carnage, traverses an emotional landscape, through a metaphorical night with moments of calm between the dark storms. It is a celebration of the beauty of endurance, the hope in stoically moving against the dark forces that invade our thoughts and lives. The spare instrumentation a potent reflection of the isolation of the insomniac.