I can’t think of a better way for Stunned to bid adieu to the compact disc than with an SWP release. Not to mention, this is not only an SWP release, but probably one of Frank Baugh’s most personal and soul-wrenching efforts to date. “Facing the Nothing World” is a collection of four tracks that has captivated me and has proven to be a puzzling enigma for me. I’m still thinking through my impression of the album. Frank Baugh’s statement concerning the release has been somewhat helpful—“This is music which reflects the inner urge, the secret fear, and the courage to look directly. Guided by moods into the true reflection of an empty world that is open. Open world. Sitting still and being one with movement. Seeing the truth reflected in hollowness. It is like saying prayers in a nothing world. Pointless and poignant.” It’d be great to know exactly what Baugh was actually dealing with as he was making this though. I’ve come to three different conclusions, or rather, impressions regarding this release.
First, “Facing the Nothing World” could be an ode to all those who feel extreme pessimism about all that is before them. With tracks called, “Mood (Guided),” “Inside the World,” “Heart,” and “Facing the Nothing World/Looking for True Face” I am left feeling like this album ushers you into a confusing and chaotic existence in which things don’t look good and don’t seem like they’ll get any better. “Mood (Guided)” brings you into the album, experiencing the harshness of a world off-balance and a life in pieces. I mean the beat that fades in and out propels you into the turmoil and the guitar lines are just so bleak and cut straight to the heart. Then, it’s like you fumble around in the darkness of “Inside the World” where you feel buried in the pit of this tragedy. “Heart” is the contact that is made between Baugh and the listener in which you feel an intimate closeness with what he is conveying as an artist. And “Facing the Nothing Word/Looking for True Face” tries to collect the pieces of this broken tale told through these four tracks.
Second, this one could rather be a bolder approach. A hero facing the immense challenge of adversity and the hope of triumph. Kind of a David and Goliath story. You vs. the World. But not quitting, never giving up. Always persevering and rising above the trial and the ensuing pain. Finally, the close of the last track with the audible silence like a tape that records the nothingness in the room calls to mind a silent victory as you reach a conquest over calamity in the calm peace of death. Resting safely where nothing can hurt you anymore.
Third, this album could be more a form of escapism. It’s a cathartic way of rising out of your skin and transcending to a better state of being. Each track is another step in the journey until finally you rise above it all and leave it behind.
Ha, the funny thing is it’s probably none of these. But, no matter what the mastermind behind SWP was actually experiencing and meaning to convey through this masterpiece, you will not be able to escape without it having a deep effect on you. You will have a profound impression made upon your being. Definitely a mysterious and inscrutable album that deserves attention. What a way for Stunned to close its chapter of CD-R releases. An essential, must-have release for everyone. Limited to 111 copies, so get yours quick-like. Phil French of Stunned does a great job dressing this one up too. 9/10 -- Dave Miller (28 July, 2010)