H.P. Lovecraft - Pickman's Model [Cadabra Records - 2016]Cadabra Records continues to pummel 2016 with spoken arts, and November 11th saw the release of their greatest to date, H.P. Lovecraft's Pickman's Model. Once again pairing Andrew Leman's impassioned reading with Theologian's grim, sonic soundtrack, Lovecraft's Pickman's Model gets a new audience in the form of this excellent release. Add Alan Brown's gorgeous artwork, and you've got something really special.
Lovecraft's interesting tale of a talented but shunned artist takes place completely through the words of a narrator. This singular voice allows Andrew Leman to become the character and embody this reading with a passion as yet unheard on previous Cadabra releases. Working within this narrative gave Cadabra the opportunity to try new approaches to their spoken delivery, and it works quite well. This is done by affecting Leman's voice when he's representing the narrator quoting Pickman. It's subtle, but definitely helps to break up the first person narrative. As mentioned above, this is the most passionate reading on Cadabra to date. Whether it's due to the style of Pickman's Model or the fact that, to me, it's Lovecraft's most gorgeously written piece they've featured, it really pays off. Andrew Leman isn't the only hero here, as Theologian's score feels like it hits the mark more than before, too. That's not to say that prior efforts have failed, but the inclusion of sounds and effects that fit closer to the story at hand add a lot to the creepy, dark atmosphere that we've grown accustomed to.
For those that have picked up other Cadabra releases, Pickman's Model not only fits in with their high quality standard, but raises the bar for future releases. Fortunately, there is plenty of awesome Lovecraft left to be featured, and Leman and Theologian seem to be really hitting their strides. 2016 has been a great year for Cadabra records, and if Pickman's Model is any indication, 2017 should continue the trend.Paul Casey