Wise Blood

As one might already surmise from its name, the Pittsburgh band Wise Blood – a.k.a. Christopher Laufman, who, in his own recounting, at an earlier point in his life found work in some sort of paupers’ field or as a hired hand elsewhere in the morgue – makes macabre music, and it’s not surprising that his videos feature their share of zombies and the like, præternatural events, and, as expected, the various shades of death. But even apart from the disturbing visual accompaniment (for which, in the case of perhaps his most disquieting video of all, he enlisted the assistance of David Parker behind the camera and Daphne Guinness in front of it), his music is haunting and even more so his vocal delivery.

What Laufman does can’t really be called singing in the strict sense, and it isn’t exactly rap (though in his live performances it begins to sound like it). And while it has a certain declamatory character, it isn’t some sort of declamation either – the content is much too personal for that. (Disregarding the considerable differences, his delivery reminds me a little of the performance style of the American expatriate in London, Nurvuss.)

Probably there’s little point in trying to state what it is.

Much more than in the studio numbers, in his live performances Wise Blood bares his wild side, veering in pitch and timbre from showing his wounds (usually amorous ones) to denying that he could ever be hurt; in them he’s openly raw whereas the studio productions have been seared around the edges – and yet each heightens the taste of the other.

Here is a number called “Strt Srns” that isn’t on Youtube.

And here are the videos that Parker directed for him. First, “2 All the Girls Who Have Trusted Me.”

And the very disturbing piece of work, “B.I.G. E.G.O.”