House Number 44 is the first volume of The Composite Moods Collection, a cycle of Dalhous recordings that examines the relationship between two individuals cohabiting in a confined space -- their interactions, their sense of self and of each other, and the pregnant space between. One of these people, perhaps the protagonist of House Number 44, is (or at least feels) in fine mental health. The other appears distinctly unwell -- detached, isolated, often feeling helpless and unable to influence the world; at other times prone to committing acts of extraordinary aggression and manipulation. The title of The Composite Moods Collection nods to the world of film and library cues, riffing on the utilitarian idea of music "to suit the mood" and the appealing if archaic notion that a "mood" can be a discrete or fixed thing, a unit of feeling. Dalhous's Marc Dall takes this notion and runs with it, attempting to convey a bipolarity of mood, with each movement contradicting or erasing what came before. And so, while a finely crafted and very deliberate narrative connects each cue to the next, it is not a smooth or a linear path. On the contrary it is jarring, complex, subject to severe and sudden modulations. Though Dalhous's R. D. Laing trilogy -- An Ambassador For Laing (BLACKEST 003CD/LP, 2013), Visibility Is A Trap (BLACKEST 029EP, 2014), and Will To Be Well (BLACKEST 007CD/LP, 2014) -- is now complete, Laing remains a spectral presence in their work, and The Composite Moods Collection ultimately cleaves closely to recurring Dalhous themes of identity, behavioral modification, and self-help. Longtime followers of Dalhous will observe that House Number 44 contains some of their sparsest, most malevolent-sounding work to date (see especially the brooding synthesizer throb of "Response To Stimuli" and "End Of Each Analysis") but some of their most disarmingly beautiful too, with indelible melodies and atmospheres as deep as thought, including "Methods of Élan," "On A Level," and the elegiac "Lines To Border." Dall's enduring affection for neo-noir film scores of the '80s and early '90s, with their gleaming electronics and submerged existential torment, is more palpable here than ever, and you may also hear echoes of Klaus Schulze, Pete Namlook, or Eno's The Shutov Assembly -- but Dalhous continue to plot their own course, obsessively and meticulously, oblivious to contemporary trends and unconstrained by historical influence; driven, indeed, by their own demons.
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