artifacts of the no-audience underground: aqua dentata

July 15, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | 2 Comments
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Aqua Dentata – March Hare, Kraken Mare (CD-r, Beartown Records)

Comrades, I’m sorry to break it to you but the sorry fact is that we live in a fractured world full of frustration and despair.  Fortunately there is one glimmer of hope, one universally held belief that offers the prospect of communication across cultural barriers, one simple fact that everyone agrees on.  It is this: Soliloquy for Lilith by Nurse with Wound is the best album ever recorded.

The six pieces (or eight if you have the extended reissue) that make up that remarkable album were created by a semi-magical process back in 1988.  A pedal loop, untroubled by input, started to play itself and Steven Stapleton discovered that he could alter the flow of this immaculately conceived feedback by waving his hands above it, Theremin style.  The very electricity in the room was obviously alive with sprites.

The results are enchanting.  Each track is the perfect length of around 18 minutes (would have made a lovely series of 3” CD-rs).  This is long enough for the ascent into reverie but short enough to not risk outstaying welcome.  The sound is organic, meditative and comforting yet at the same time alien, puzzling and indefinable.

I don’t know if this is the first ‘effects loop’ or ‘no input’ recording but for me it is the ur-text.  It is a massive and obvious influence on midwich, of course, and its mere existence has allowed for the possibility of much of what I write about here.  Should you find yourself in the embarrassing position of not owning a copy it can be downloaded for about a fiver from everyone’s favourite tax-avoiding, wikileaks deleting, global mega-corp here.

So why this preamble?  Surely in comparison with this masterwork the album under review is going to finish a poor second?  Well, true, but I’m hoping Eddie Nuttall, the chap behind the amusingly named Aqua Dentata (a very NWW-style piece of surrealism), will be flattered to be mentioned in the same deep breath.  What I’m offering is a recommendation in the style of those mechanically generated by the robots that staff the retail arm of the internet: ‘if you like that, you’ll like this too.’

March Hare, Kraken Hare is a three track, 39 minute CD-r of what Eddie calls ‘domestic recordings’.  It is packaged in the black and white photo above with manually typewritten info cut-and-pasted on the reverse.  So far, so ‘Matching Head’ but don’t be expecting the fuzz, hiss and entropic roar patented by Lee Stokoe’s label.  This is precise, slow-moving, crisply defined and unafraid of periods of silence.  It has an attention diverting flow and an interestingly oblique rhythm.  The rise and fall is like the breathing of a quarantined astronaut, infected by some spaceborne virus which is now busy reconfiguring his DNA.

The other-worldliness is especially evident on the short second track when what sounds like a recorder is used as an unplugged analogue for the pulls and throbs of electronic feedback.  The first and final tracks employ the near perfect length and despite being created with, y’know, instruments and that, have an unmistakeably ‘Lilithian’ xenobiological vibe.  I trust that by now I have established this is a very, very good thing indeed.

One of my favourite releases of 2012 so far.  Available for an unarguably reasonable £4 (including delivery anywhere in the world!) from Beartown Records where you will find a good short review by the label too.

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  1. “Soliloquy for Lilith by Nurse with Wound is the best album ever recorded.” ha! Rob, i was so taken w/ yr conviction that i dropped some cash on Colin Potter’s distro for a copy – i’ve never actually listened to that one all the way thru + always meant to investigate … thanks!

    • Heh, heh – great! You won’t regret it. Don’t forget to get Eddie’s CDr too… Rx


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