Today we got two from Stuart Chalmers, a British newcomer with a name destined for greatness (when wrapped so posh around such spools of wreckage). ‘Myths and Beasts’ is a concrète Anglicized fantasy evoking “Labyrinth”, “Pandora”, and the “Nocturnal World” of scuttling creatures, lapsed tongues, and dusky murk: this live-captured non-music made of tapes, synths, pedals, broken keyboards is ugly, but surprisingly legible – even side B, a mirror image of A, given the intermixing of indeterminate smears on both sides obscuring the “proper” direction – through excessive cuts adding extra contour to these rich source sounds. Sprites, ogres, witches, woodsmen – they’re all there, acted out in smartly-applied and quickly-obscured sonic bouquets. In two dimensions the effect is two-dimensional, like a collaged castle scene made from People magazines. The product is subdued (though not without its climaxes), and literary, in a playbook sort of way; very tapely, and very listenable. Tapes come labeled in printed paper, packed in glossy full-color inserts. Recommended.
The Lows and the Highs cassette
‘Blunders’ is an aptly-titled split with Robert Ridley-Shackleton, who erases his signal in a series of missteps: with a scanning repetition and radio squelch, the equipment lies “on”, erratically-erased by shores of ashy feedback scorch; the drama piques when the author signs-on, but, failing to see the red light ablaze, gapes open-mouthed at something off camera; at last, clarity like a magnet passed over the tape, the only “success” an abnegation. For his side of things, Chalmers runs through a number of less-cochlear sounds mostly stripped from tape then wedged into a tarried mantle of cheaply-synthesized fuzz. The sounds are culinary, cartoonish; textures and tones leaving you quizzically pinched as you try and recall the sources, the whole thing like a spring-loaded nude descending a flight of stairs. On stamped tapes with glossy, color inserts.
Hissing Frames cassette