Ominous Green Energy

Tag Cloud
Winter Hours
USA ZEROMOON ZERO149 CD (2013)

Not to be confused with Boston resident Justin Mayfield’s amateurish but strangely charming “noisy space-core adventures” project of the same name, this Tag Cloud is Washington-based Chris Videll who describes his music as “DIY drone/noise”. He has a previous release on Zeromoon called Named Entities. Videll’s sonic arsenal on Winter Hours is disclosed in the following terms: “…electronics, casio, fx, loops, pitch pipe, shruti box, insomnia…” It’s the first time I’ve heard of insomnia played as an instrument on a recording, and a long time since I’ve noticed a pitch pipe credit but there you go. The first track, ‘Ominous Green Energy’, reminds me of late 90s UK vintage analogue experimentalists Kaleidophon (not to be confused with the 1960/70s production studio of the same name run by White Noise’s Michael Vorhaus), featuring as it does ethereal Casiotone 701-like sounds, nifty backwards rhythms, and plenty of slow, deliberate delay pedal manipulation. The next track, ‘The Past’, also features delay manipulation – it sounds analogue but it could possibly be the sound of guest musician Dan Barbiero’s Geomungo App. A Geomungo, a quick internet search reveals, is a Korean zither. Incidentally, Daniel Barbiero also has releases on Zeromoon. The third piece, ‘Grendel Dub (version)’, is a dim and murky foray into repetitive electro drum programming, possibly sourced from the ubiquitous Casio, combined with droney samples or “loops”. Here, regrettably, at 2am, a fine mist of pointlessness settles over the harbour. I regret to inform you, dear reader, that it was altogether likely that it would put me to sleep, perhaps forever, such was the unchangingly tedious nature of it. And where the dub element came in I’m not sure. Post-Stefan Bettke’s Pole project, I concede that dub has developed in new and interesting ways, but the utter dub invisibility of ‘Grendel’ is not one of them.

Happily, by the fourth track, ‘Years’, things are getting more interesting. Immediately compelling, the gauze is finer and the mist is turning to fog but the welcome lack of rhythmic drive allows thoughts to form more easily and when the bass end does finally emerge – still drone-like – it brought a big smile to my face. Constantly moving and evolving. A short duration this track; one I could have enjoyed over a longer duration for sure. In summary, then, a flawed yet strangely enjoyable album.

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