For the sake of clarity, we’ll get the business end of today’s double feature out of the way first. Dead Skeletons and The Brian Jonestown Massacre are one in the same. Both recordings were produced by BJM founding member, Anton Newcombe, with Henrik Baldvin Bjornsson of Singapore Sling, and Icelandic artist, Nonni. Why they chose one moniker for “Dead Mantra” and another for “One,” well that’s a question for Anton. A question for which you won’t get you a straight answer.
The message of “Dead Mantra,” is a simple one, “He who fears death cannot enjoy life.” It’s set against a trancey, tribal beat, replete with feedback and repeated continuously over the course of eight minutes in three different languages. Sometimes the message is as serious as death. Other times, it’s as if Newcombe and company are taunting you with their awareness. Yet, “Dead Mantra,” remains powerfully addictive, much life the recreational drugs which no doubt played a leading role in its synthesis.
YOUTUBE: Dead Skeletons – Dead Mantra
Even if I didn’t spoil the secret, and say up front that “Dead Mantra” and “One” were the work of the same trio operating under different guises, the similarities between the two numbers should have been enough to lift the veil on the secret identity of Dead Skeletons. “One,” operates in a similar dream-like state as “Dead Mantra,” with the vocals buried deep in buzzy feedback, and no discernible verse and chorus structure, owing much more to British acts like Primal Scream and My Bloody Valentine than the Rolling Stones, the inspiration for much of The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s early work.
YOUTUBE: Brian Jonestown Massacre – One