Destroyer – “Archer On The Beach” (Feat. Tim Hecker) (Stereogum Premiere)

By brandon / November 2, 2010

I admire Destroyer’s vastness. Dan Bejar writes distinct, ambitious, ridiculously rich, self- and otherwise referential music you can compare to the work of Roberto Bolaño without feeling entirely like a twit. The last time he delivered a 12″ it was the Bay Of Pigs EP, his excellent “first foray into the ambient disco market.” This time out — in anticipation and the looming shadow of the forthcoming full-length Kaputt — we have the “Archer On The Beach” 12″, a two-song collection inspired by the ambient sounds of two Canadian Kranky soundmakers Tim Hecker and Loscil (aka Destroyer drummer Scott Morgan). As Bejar notes, it’s a full-on collaboration:

The reason why this has to be seen as a collaboration, rather than strictly a Destroyer release, is that, for the first time, I’m not responsible for any of the music contained on this EP aside from the vocals, the general chord progression of “Archer On The Beach,” and maybe a couple of the sound effects.

Hecker produced Harmony In Ultraviolet, something I once called a “blizzard symphony,” and one of my favorite all-time records. It’s great having them join forces on the downcast, slow-mo A-Side complete with its lines about ice, ashes, snow, crutches. Start processing:

Destroyer – “Archer On The Beach” (Feat. Tim Hecker)

The lyrics:

Careful now, watch your step,
In you go!
The Ash King’s made of ashes,
The Ice Queen’s made of snow…
And Archer’s where you left him,
With his arrows stuck inside a peach…
Awake on your crutches in the moonlight:
Archer on the Beach!

Careful now, watch your step,
In you go!
The Ass King’s made of asses,
The Ice Queen’s native snow…
And Archer’s where you left him,
With his arrows slightly out of reach…
Impossible raver on your death bed:
Archer on the Beach!

Careful now, watch your step,
In you go!
The Ice Queen’s made of ashes,
The Ash King’s made of snow…
And Archer’s where you left him,
With his arrows all in a heap…
Stapled to the neck of the storm:
Archer on the Beach!

Careful now, watch your step, in you go!
Careful now, watch your step, in you go!

The problem with destroyer is…
The night wears a thousand stitches above her right eye…
The problem with destroyer is…
The night wears a thousand stitches above her right eye,
Then waves goodbye!

And then waves goodbye…

The “Archer On The Beach” 12″ is out 11/2 via Merge. The B-Side “Grief Point” sounds like a melancholic, quietly hyped-up radio play (or audio book w/ sound effects). It’s also:

The first recording Bejar made after deciding never to record again. It is a one-time exploration of the self-explanatory world, recorded in an office and on the street. Inspired by the writings of Michael Herr and the production design of Dean Tavoularis, the words occasionally obsess over the need to make certain things that don’t need to be made, while the music — written, played, and produced in its entirety by Loscil, aka Scott Morgan — tackles wholly separate issues. “Grief Point” was, at one point, the working title of a song called “Bay of Pigs.”

It reminds me of Hunger (why not?), though maybe we’re supposed to think about Doctor Faustus. The 12″ is limited to 1,000 copies and comes with a download coupon. You can buy a copy now at Merge. The next full-length, Kaputt, which includes neither of these songs, is out 1/25, also via Merge. You will find the multiply aforementioned “Bay Of Pigs” lurking on it along with the excellent “Savage Night at the Opera,” “Suicide Demo For Kara Walker,” “Song For America,” etc.