Works for Cassette
USA HELEN SCARSDALE AGENCY HMS 026 LP (2014)
Deliquescent as a requiem, though bursting with myriads of sound drops and harmonics, delayed to a vaporous state, these WORKS FOR CASSETTES by TAIGA REMAINS (ALEX COBB) summon gas leaking in a glorious golden hue. The sound of nothing ? Well, “nothing” sounds like an epiphany here, over-distorted and over-sustained string arpeggios, washes after washes of powdered rust. The tracks display a series of states, like facets, or rather, subtle shades of the same object. Shades of a decaying process, disintegrating slowly in technicolor : a highly visual experience, wherein one can’t really tell ascent from descent : at times, only the horizontal dominates the aural experience. Never crashing, or when it does crash, the reverberating treatment suspends every drop in a never-ending cluster maintained crystal-clear thanks to an effective stereo touch. Other times, a listener finds himself swimming against a tide of feedback, speeding past piercing islands emerging here and there, cruising speed. Soon, the shore looks quite distant, and a blinding travelogue opens up, the screaming reefs more frequent, speed increases up to entropy.
The succession of the tracks progress up to a plateau, an illuminating state is reached at last, in the shape of an intensely soothing splash of light. There’s a mystical object in this series of WORKS FOR CASSETTES, which resembles the logbook being kept by one of these traveling dead souls in transit.
BOMB SHOP BMS040 CD (2014)
(Tour guide on duty here) Now, listen to the dripping cool water of WESSENDEN SUITE, and soon, feel the surge of a much more focused shower. Ride your hearing engine through the drops, zoom in and get further ahead into the liquid forest : there’s a whole world in there, birds, mammals : life in a nutshell, and the dramatic humming bass drone doesn’t even sound menacing, for life IS drama, and this document is stating a case here; so keep driving ! And rightly so : enjoy those luscious cascades, see the giant plants dripping with living fluids, while tubes sing harmonies to greet you, salute the drones, occasionally ! Then, something happens : was the zoom too strong, too fast ? Whatever, you overstepped a non-return stage, and got caught in an acceleration process walled with a channelling white noise coating, through curves and slopes. This absurdist toboggan with no end suddenly takes you out of sight. Indeed, life is drama, in music : time and action combined.
UK LOOP RECORDS LOOP 1022 CD (2014)
Steady, feline and patient, the instrumental music of SPLICE developing here dances a careful dance. The fat overload grunt of the bass walk supports the well-distributed short bursts of the other interventions. Then a passage opens up ahead, everything clears up, and concludes.
The multiple voices playing these powerful pieces never seem to dissolve into chaos, which could be the “usual” challenge with instruments, about such a musical direction : was it, one day, something coming from jazz ? It sounds to me like vignettes, discrete pictures of a momentary cohesion, vibrant with life, and concerned with everyone having his fair share of space. They do, and when they do, they manage to articulate a choral speech. Some of these vignettes could even irritate one’s eagerness but listen on : you never know whether there’s a tiger to ride, so let’s hide behind a bush for a while, and wait. The subtle clicks and cuts knitting through the sustained instrumental phonemes draws an odoriferous landscape, with plants, and less static presences, harmonically. This is not jazz music; only, jazz idioms that are utilized, contributing a vibe. Slow and considered, it swells up to dense masses, yet displaying with a sense of control. Snake-like horns are developing spirals along with their ghosts, or at least shadows. Move the lighting, and the shadows multiply in chanting loops. It’s really all about control, and if so, power : the edge of an abyss, and retreat. Or simply, cut.
Still the rich, creamy bass droning provides the animal ground upon which duelling percussions and bouncing electronic signals can develop and swiftly fight, invoking past forms (say “free jazz”) and putting said forms under another lighting, pointing toward a similar climax-oriented region, here swarming with updated electro-parasites. Never exploding, but letting the vibrant forces at work show.