Gravenhurst ~ I turn my face to the forest floor [2⊘⊘5]

I never listened to Hüsker Dü, but probably should have. They were in vogue with college kids when I was in my twenties. One of their songs, an oddly popular, if pitch-black one, named “Diane” would be remade by singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Nicholas John Talbot, aka Gravenhurst. The lyrics begin by telling the story of a man asking a girl if she wants a ride. “Hey little girl, do you need a ride? Well, I’ve got room in my wagon, why don’t you hop inside? We could cruise down Robert Street all night long. But I think I’ll just rape you, and kill you instead.

While Hüsker Dü’s version is more punkishly aggressive and reflective of an unapologetically crazed killer, Gravenhurst’s remake is a near 360°. A sparsely methodical, soft-spoken rendition that is more likely attributable to an unfortunately intelligent, cold-blooded psychopath. A snapshot of the soulless-ly exploitive. Die-ann. [Lyrics]

“It’s the kind of thing that once drove men into the desert night.
I see no deserts here”

Comparatively, the lyrics of “I turn my face to the forest floor” appear to lament rather than document our intrinsic nature of violence. Where it once drove us outward and onward, now it is difficult, near impossible to avoid. Referentially, ‘East-End’ is London’s ‘Dark Heart‘, and the ‘rogue’ a pointed allusion to human nature’s natural proclivity to admire those capable of violence, though society deems it be denied, or at least that it remains buried in darkness.

“And the East-End rogue you so admire
is a murdering fuckhead.
The influence is clear”

Bristol, England’s Gravenhurst is described as dark and atmospheric, veering between the noisy shoegazing sound of guitar bands such as My Bloody Valentine, the harmony-laden singer-songwriter territory of Simon and Garfunkel, and the intricate fingerpicking guitar styles of Bert Jansch and Nick Drake. A constant in his sound is his fragile emotive voice and vocal harmonies, intricate guitar work, and unsettling and mysterious lyrical themes. He died aged only 37 on December 2nd, 2014, manner undisclosed.

Talbot delved deeper than most songwriters: he said that he sought to find romance in the grimier side of life, and his work journeyed into the dark heart of the human condition to create music of humbling beauty. However, onstage he could be hilarious. An outward misanthropy concealed a warm and engaging character with a huge intellect, prone to expounding on anything from Jack the Ripper to his unlikely obsession with the heavy metal band Iron Maiden.

~ The Guardian, “Gravenhurst Obituary

Thomas Hicks’ video is a brilliant depiction of our sadly inherent inclination toward depravity. Witness the violence being fed into the machine, fed onto the screen, fed into an open-armed audience, insidiously encouraging its furtherance thereof.

“You’re only a stone’s throw, from all the violence
you buried years ago”



11 thoughts on “Gravenhurst ~ I turn my face to the forest floor [2⊘⊘5]

  1. I enjoyed all three of the videos you posted, Rann. Of the two versions you shared of ‘Diane”, Husker Du’s version is my pick…I think it’s the music—fierce and driving. I listened to “I Turn My My Face to the Forest Floor” three times! It got under my skin, the video and guitar combined almost hypnotic. It has been saved in my YouTube library, and I’m sure I’ll revisit it often.
    Thank you for bringing these deliciously dark songs and videos to my attention. Many times, I’ve searched YouTube for dark music but seldom get a hit that I like. You have provided quite a few for my flagitious mind. Kiss-kiss-hug-hug! 😉🖤

    1. Fierce and driving, yes! I love the guitar work in it and the almost vicious vocal delivery. I think I seriously underestimated the quality of their work. I appreciate your kind words; they mean a lot coming from you as I have immense respect for you and your artistic output. The featured song and video provide a one-two punch 🥊 with their combined synergism making for a hauntingly ominous experience. Watching the audience members attack each other really fucks with me. This is easily one of the darkest videos I have yet to find on YouTube. Thank you so much, sweetheart 🖤💀

      1. I get you about the video….on a casual glance, one would only experience a cartoonish effect. But if you watch closely, there’s a lot going on. The first time I watched it, on one occasion, when the people filed in and sat at desks, I saw one shoot the one in front of him in the head. That caught my attention! So I watched it twice more with a closer eye. It’s one of the darkest I’ve seen as well, Rann. And damn, the music is haunting. I’ve watched it a couple more times today. It has become an earworm…but a pleasant one. And you’re very welcome, my dark knight. 😊🖤

      2. ????????
        I see where I wrote once instead of one, and your instead of you’re, and left out a the (grrrr to all three). I failed to proof before sending, and probably didn’t have my reading glasses on, but other than those three typos….?
        On a side note, sometimes, I can be dense. 🙄🖤

      3. And should be earworm singular. In my defense, I’m partially blaming my phone’s autocorrect. 😖

      4. Fixed your comment, lol, just as you did for me. 😊 WordPress really needs to allow us to edit our own comments. Also, zero biggie, of course.

        On further reflection, a bit of layering is being done here, especially in the more complex regions … I think. As a musician myself (alto and baritone sax player for 7 years in school symphonic and jazz bands, but barely accomplished that), I enjoy when music can fool my brain. If I am unable to decipher what exactly was done -and- the result is a pleasant experience, it trebles my pleasure.

      5. Thank you for cleaning up after me…a true friend. 😊 Sometimes, I fix errors I catch made by other commenters—if I know the errors would bug them. Most don’t care. I do a read-through of my comments before hitting reply, but like I once read somewhere, “We see what we expect to see.” I’m guilty of that.
        You’re a sax player…mmm. I find its sound either melancholy or sexy, depending on surrounding context. 🖤

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