Happy to note this double-cassette release from Stormhat, called Mind Matter (SENSORISK VERDEN SV-41) and released on the Sensorisk Verden label in Copenhagen. Stormhat used to turn up at TSP mansions more than once in earlier times, his records published in tiny editions on CDR or cassette with titles such as Hypnagogia in 2007, The Moat in 2010, and Kabine in 2011. From what I can recall, these were OK-ish examples of the drone and field-recording thing, but today’s Mind Matter is zapping the old sensory circuits more often than not, with a good hit ratio among its 18 tracks.
I’m assuming Stormhat is still Peter Bach Nicolaisen performing solo. He describes a situation where he has a computer drive packed with recordings like this, which have been maturing and grinding away at the motherboard for so long he’s almost forgotten about them himself, including why or when he made them…this may be what prompts him to suggest “These sounds are only sounds, nothing else,” and that “They tell nothing, they mean nothing.” While we have a few glimpses of the real world to distract us – an early appearance of birds, namely some rooks and an owl, is encouraging – this is mostly coming from the inner chambers of the computer or from the intestinal tracts of some mysterious and rather bad-tempered electrical tone generator. Growly, low-key purrs and murmurs are the order of the bath, along with unexpected swoops from the belfry of 100-volt shocks.
What I’m especially enjoying is the episodic nature of the set, which invites you to keep following one instalment after the next in a compelling fashion, as though a crystal radio set were beaming back messages from the outer reaches of a land where time runs backward and everything is broadcast on black and white television sets. Particularly rewarding are the longer and abrasive tracks near the end of the set, such as ‘I Um Op’ and ‘I Hate Things’, which are pretty remorseless in their pursuit of their elusive quarry, which they pursue like hunters garbed in primitive pelts and skins. This rough music may not be poised to win Grand Prix awards at electro-acoustic festivals for academic conservatoire types wearing horn-rims, but it feels to me more genuinely experimental than much “proper” electro-acoustic composition produced by more expensive means. There’s a sense of open-endedness, a lack of conclusion, the feeling that each abstract piece could almost go anywhere or be made to prove anything. Prepare to follow this rabbit-hole to the end of your tether, and drive yourself to distraction…you’ll be glad you did.
I’m showing a photo of the physical cassette set which I today have in my pastry-flecked mitts (I just ate a cherry tart from the local bakery), which I think looks much better than the image printed on the Bandcamp page. Tres bueno late-night brooder music and fizzy noise to soothe the turbulent lumpy brain. From 30 September 2019.