Sutcliffe Jügend‘s “Blue Rabbit” is the most disturbing record I have ever heard. Musically, it offered me nothing but nightmares, which is of course its intention. It sets out to do one thing and achieves it with the precision of a scalpel as it slowly, meticulously, slices you open. If you think you’ve heard, no felt, tension, think again. This makes your skin crawl and it actually sticks to you like some disgusting residue. If torture, particularly sexual torture, gets you squeamish, probably best look away now.
Imagine you’re on a wooden ship. The fog is thick and you’re lashed to the mast with a rope covered in powdered glass. The sails hang limp, ragged and stained as the ship slowly heaves forward despite the lack of a breeze. The timber creaks and groans, your own screaming having long ceased as your vocal chords gave way. You are numb from days of torture, your sense of feeling having shut down. All you can smell is burning flesh. Your own burning flesh.
The swaying of the ship gets stronger. The sound of a skull tied by a long barbed wire to a beam is a pendulum, slowly tapping against a resonating timber structure without rhythm. Something is moving about on deck, but it’s too dark and your vision too impaired with blood and grease to see what and who. Faint voices slowly catch your attention and memories start to flow back. Even with eyes open you see the horrible faces of your torturers in front of you. You see the instruments of their torture – dagger, club, a red-hot pointed iron bar. Music from a fiddle way beneath decks floats up. The strings are made from the entrails of one of your shipmates and the bow is strung with his hair. You close your eyes and focus on the sound of the fiddle and your new-found skills block out all other sounds and sensations as you escape, if only temporarily. You pass out.
You wake to find your circumstance is real. The ropes slowly grind their way through your skin, your legs no longer able to hold your weight. The searing pain in your genitals has returned and you hear the words of your captors over and over in your mind, telling you in detail what their intentions are. You remember your own surrender, how you gave in and submitted, how you decided it was better to acquiesce than fight. Then you hear the screams of children in the bowels of the ship.