Excavating “Mystical Extraction”: A Gonemage Track by Track

During the warping of Cara Neir into a video game dimension within “The Trimjrtle Sanction,” a mysterious occurrence took place with the transference of Garry Brents’ corporeal self into pixelated subjugation. A phantom ego was plucked from this event and splintered off into a nostalgic dream realm. Unaware of its human body and pixelated form, it wanders and spirals into other paths while its pixelated counterpart remains in Cara Neir’s gauntlet and timeline in parallel.

Early on in this unnamed dream realm, Galimgim encounters a few mystical beings — first, a glittery deceptive man called the Dust Merchant who siphons souls from video game dimensions and sells them in cartridges in other realms. Another is a cloaked woman known as The Curator. She reveals that she’s the one who summoned/fractured Brents’ identity into this realm to take place as the new Curator while she tends to other dream realms, for reasons undisclosed as of yet.

Do I have any idea what the fuck any of that description of the origin of Gonemage means?

Hell. No.

But you know…whatever works. Mystical Extraction — out now via Tomb Tree Tapes — is an extremely weird, yet weirdly enjoyable, highly original take on black metal that sometimes feels like Lords of Chaos by way of The Wizard.

The soundscapes are lush, the textures are rich, and it sounds as if the final boss can riff like a motherfucker.

So with all that craziness in mind, we hit up Gonemage mainman Galimgim for further explanation…

1. “The Gullying and the Purple Hoax”

This song opens up with a blasting frenzy of black metal with an underlying fuzzy 8-bit synth counter-melody. The song bounces back and forth going into totally off-kilter sections before ramping back into a tremolo-riffy black metal finish. This song sets the tone as a related sound from my main project Cara Neir and our latest 8-bit concept album Phase Out. But to those unfamiliar, that album is more of a chaotic, arcade platformer while this project sets itself apart carving its own video game-like path in a dream realm/dungeon crawler. More of a black metal influence and melancholic atmosphere. Story-wise, this starts off with a phantom ego being splintered off from my identity and summoned to this dream realm; this is meant to run as a separate and alternate timeline to Cara Neir’s lore.

2. “Chained Castle”

Continues the tone set from track 1 but introducing more melodic sensibilities with the blackened synth-punk choruses. My alternate ego learns more about how they were brought here: by a mysterious protector of this dream realm known as “The Curator.”

3. “Dust Merchant”

A total love letter to shoegaze/post-punk with a strong black metal overtone throughout it all. Perhaps ‘blackgaze’ could fit as a quick description, but instead of how most of those bands having black metal featuring shoegaze or post-rock elements, this is more of an alt rock-structured song featuring black metal and shoegaze elements. I know that’s splitting hairs, but that’s my take. Story-wise, this Dust Merchant figure is a shady character who siphons souls from video game dimensions and sells them in cartridges in other realms. My character narrowly dodges him for now.

4. “Dream Moat”

Venturing deeper into what I’ve described in the previous song but this time breaking it down further into a hazy shoegaze track with pop sensibilities. Healthy amount of reverb and bright chiptune melodies floating around. Thinking of The Depreciation Guild as my biggest influence during these types of songs/parts. This is where my alternate ego learns they’re about to assume the role as the new ‘Curator.’

5. Uncast

Kicking it back up a notch, but continuing some of the melancholic vibe from the previous songs. Waltz-like late 90’s/early 2000’s black metal influence here. The Curator bestows her gifts and abilities to my character and suddenly bids a bittersweet farewell to tend to other dream realms.

6. “Ipinta”

Finishing it off with the most longform track of the album. Wearing my biggest influence on my sleeve here in early Ulver, but with subtle chiptune melodies blended throughout. Drops into this clean early Kayo Dot-esque break, at least, that’s the vibe I was feeling when writing/recording it. At this point, my character is barely getting used to being this curator/dream denizen and realizes that it’s suspiciously lonely here so they get the spark to conjure some NPCs, if you will: in the form of toads, sprites, rabbits, and mice, just for starters. This song and album ends with that uplifting note, yet a bit of a cliffhanger. Was it naïve to play ‘God’ and conjure beings to this place? What happens with the Dust Merchant or the original Curator? More to come in future chapters for Gonemage.