Houses of the Holy Priceless Collection of Etruscan Snoods: A Review of The Beckoning House by Apparition Gauntlet

The Beckoning House by Apparition Gauntlet

(Euphoriadic Records)

Released January 14, 2022

Review by Weirding Batweilder

The first thing you notice is the quick decay. That’s a sure sign of a haunted house. Quick decay. A little oscillation. That hint of resonance is a reminder that someone used to live here, damn it.

First ghost I ever saw was in the shape of this floating decapitated horse’s head. This was in New Jersey. A perfectly fine place to see a ghost. Thomas Edison and all. And you know, people started seeing ghosts differently after the invention of electric lighting. I think I like the idea of ghosts who live in unlit castles, but I prefer the feeling of being surrounded by ghosts in houses plugged into the electric grid. Or at least houses that used to be plugged in. Houses on streets with barren telephone poles. And ghosts to whom you don’t have to explain the concept of a record player. Or a synthesizer, for that matter.

Which brings us to The Beckoning House, the latest release by Apparition Gauntlet. The ghosts in this house are perfectly fine with electricity, with a little resonance, a little oscillation, and certainly decay. Or at least they are fine with their memories of these things, living as they do now, if you call it living, in the tender abandonment of domesticity.

There’s a story floating around out there about Brian Eno and tape loops. I’m not going to look it up, but I’ll paraphrase what I recall. It was something where there is this loop that’s just going on forever and then for a single pass it suddenly either slows down or there is a hint of modulation. Something noticeable. And that’s the thing: that noticeability is a reminder that this is made by a human, or that it was touched by a ghost. And I get that feeling, especially as the third track, An Unsettling Presence in the Hall, warbles by and seemingly slows… or halts… there… in, I would presume, the titular hallway.

I think this is important. Too often we get a sameness that some people call robotic, but I won’t call robotic because really it is almost pre-robotic. There is not even the hand-wavy idea that there might be something else, some kind of robot carrying out the command of a program, there. It is just a machine moving towards entropy. And when that pre-robot starts to breakdown, that’s when that sameness gets disturbed. It can happen in subtle ways. Just a flash of difference. A moaning fissure. Some wind behind the screen. The flutter of a bird. Nothing going off the rails, just something landing alight the rails. Landing lightly. You’d probably never notice and it could happen right in front of you. That’s what life is like, if you call it life, for these electric-minded ghosts. Because in this day and age it’s too easy to blame the poltergeist on a poorly placed frying pan, or the piercing cry and laugh of a long forgotten little girl on the ginny shriek of a fox startled by a neighborhood cat at night.

Apparition Gauntlet know better. Here we have us a proper ghost story. But it is not of the purely narrative variety. It reads more like a travel guide to a haunted house. It’s a map sold by a carny. 

Step right up, pay a dollar. Here’s a xeroxed map, move along, get inside. There are things to see.

And then you get inside the house with your xeroxed map folded in your hands. As you open the map, you notice the names of each room written in an odd script where the letters seem to alternate leaning from one side to the other. As you gaze at the names on the map, the corresponding parts of the house seem to subtly light up or beckon you with a sound. Maybe that was just wind rattling an old window. Maybe.

But wind doesn’t seem to breathe, to sigh, to sigh and shake its head at you, mumbling under its holy breath that yet again we have a ticket sold, an unassuming victim unavailing the soul of the weight of a dollar for to find the truth beyond the staircase, despite the basement, and thereupon on the other side of the door.

You’ll go there. You will. You’ll gladly walk into what you fear the most but recognize the least.


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