this is not for you – no sky can blind us (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

This is the second time that Mark Z. Danielewski’s much talked about novel, House of Leaves has cropped up in conversation in as many weeks, Firstly, via a trusted literary friend waxing lyrical about it and now as the partial inspiration for this wonderful, musical side project. this is not for you is the debut solo album from West of House‘s Erick Bieger and is less an album of individual tracks and more a continuous song broken down into nine movements or musical chapters. Perhaps a concept album maybe just an album of concepts.

The first trilogy of songs is a fairly heavy affair, dominated by the stark and stabbing beats of descent, relentlessly and violently encroaching on the listener’s senses. And just when you think that you can’t any more you arrive in a different place. negative exposure introduces a markedly different sonic tone. One of dark, drifting ambience, washes of keyboards interspersed with the occasional note of sonic strangeness.

The final track of this middle section of the song-suite, psychoschizophrenia, is built around a building spiral of primal Gregorian Chant, which builds in power and depth to claustrophobic proportions every bit as encompassing as the earlier alt-rock salvos.

With the album having now set out its sonic demarcations, this final musical tryptic wanders between such boundaries. considering the fifth is an ever-quickening, dense, rock track that careers out of control and away, to leave us with the haunted airs and melancholic dreamscapes of ascent. transfiguration is the logical conclusion before the title track acts as a dark reprise and leaves a chilling question mark hanging in the air.

It’s an album which, as much through is music as its lyrical communication, captures the internal struggles that face those with mental illness. It is jarring and changeable, it shifts moods in a heartbeat, is laced with terror and the unknown but also has moments of unparalleled serenity and untold beauty. It is worth noting that a portion of the profits will be donated to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Erick Bieger has created a unique musical piece in this is not for you. It is beholden to no particular style or genre, preferring to adopt the sonic trappings of whichever sound suits the moment and the message that he is trying to send. And as such it becomes all things to all listeners. Progressive rockers will love its changeable nature and dynamic journey, rock fans, its many dense and heavy passages, aficionados of more ambient electronica will love the cinematic qualities of its more sedate moments and those with an ear for the classical will revel in its ornate machinations and textured layers. There is something for almost every taste.

It’s a beguiling suite of songs, one which the creator himself admits is perhaps less about obvious enjoyment and more about the thoughts and empathies which are provoked by the often challenging music. Some music is pure entertainment, some has something important to say, this is not for you, I believe, does both.

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