shrink into tight acorns: rfm on dugan kelly, rose buried in sand and artem spar

July 15, 2017 at 2:27 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Dugan Kelly – Surface Defect (No label)

Rose Buried in Sand – Dissolving Tape (Falt)

Artem Spar – Kassettenwerk 13-15 (Falt)

 dugan kelly

Dugan Kelly – Surface Defect (No label) pay-what-you-like digital album

By day Dugan Kelly is a chemist measuring and analysing teeny-tiny molecules for important clues – a man of science.  By night he weaves electro-acoustic performances into intensely complex ripples that bristle with rude life – a man of art.

And it’s this collision of bespectacled laboratory rigour and beret-wearing boho chops that makes this recording such a blistering listen.

The central piece, the twenty-two minute ‘First Time Back’ crackles with bad energy and a fresh minty spritz.  Some sort of firework is clenched in a fist; a hot shower of colourful sparks spits from one end as the cone-shaped body defies gravity with its unpredictable wriggles and bucks.  A bell is struck and the copper tone grabbed in powerful pincers is drawn out until the lumpen peal becomes a single wire – as thin and flexible as my ginger beard.

After time the chimes thicken out becoming bulbous and clattery until the hiss takes over once more – a high pressure hose scarring black marble.

Ultra High Frequency tones herald ‘Reprisals’.  Like a divinely oily martini before…

the ice-cold silver bullet (©WH Auden)

…it nips my head while remaining cool, sharp and exquisitely intoxicating.

The ‘always on’ hiss and fritz is chopped up with a rusty razor on ‘Hidden Pet’ a glitchly funk akin to an Autechre yoga pose .  It’s polystyrene Donk.  It’s Crisco Disco.  It’s dancing with icicle-brittle legs over a hot plate but it’s hard to tell the difference between salty sweat and the pure grey meltwater.

A blistering quiet rage all but obliterates the title ‘Surface Defect’ with its scuffed Perspex crackles and the ozone- electric stink of power cables pumping their deadly energy across a desolate moor.

The intensity not so much rises like a crescendo but pulls all material towards itself like a sonic black hole.

rose buried in sand

Rose Buried in Sand – Dissolving Tape (Falt) C18 cassette with tape-jizz wraparound artwork and name-your-price digital album

Absolutely faultless tape-loop fuckery from France.

This one’s got it all tape fans: grubby tape murk, hypnotic repetition, clever loop juxtapositions and that glorious, glorious low-end hiss.

The loop placement and source-material brushstrokes are masterful.  I’m guessing here readers but I reckon metal (the element not the genre) takes a starring role as various nugget, medallion and bell are rubbed, dropped and vibrated direct to tape loop.

When Greg Gorlen (for he is RBIS) has collected enough loopage he plays them back overlaying various timelags and hamfists.  At one point I’m nodding my chin to one antiseptic metallic clang, a dirty sigh, then a brass hinge squeak and dry cork rub – and before I know it I’ve run out of limbs to twitch and start looking for a family member to shake a damn leg.

And if you are thinking this is all boys’ club clunk and industrial clatter – think on.  The smoothest moments are pensive and delicate.  Gentle ripples of soft sound and the erotic squelch of the pause button adding a triple-X quality that drags me back to those endless summer afternoons in pursuit of mind-altering experiences.

And yet…I can only sum up by stating this is surely sixteen minutes of pure tape-future.

Tape loop as time travel eh?

artem spar

Artem Spar – Kassettenwerk 13-15 (Falt) C20 Cassette with crypto-letterist wraparound art work and free-as-fuck digital album

My goodness – another modern classic from Falt!

Artem, a Russian-born artist plying his tape-trade in Berlin is pushing in a slightly different direction from Greg (as hailed above).  Here the loops are mainly absent and it’s the magical qualities of tape-natural and tape recorders that take the centre stage.

A brief nine-minute Side A take us through murky vocal sludge with chanted mouth-shapes pitched down until they throb like veins.  This is a never-ending source of wonder to me – the beauty of any human voice, in any language chopped and screwed into pieces.  There’s something of the ghostly universal in our wet mouths and pre-language sing-songs.  After time a gloopy synth rises and falls like a slowed down landscape, oak trees grow in reverse and silently shrink into tight acorns.

Side B is a wonderful pause-button shuffle and a pitched-down orchestral fog.  Case notes: Artem attends a jazz gig and dictas the night.  Walking back to his apartment he mutters comments into the mic and takes both these tapes and sprinkles them with heavy hallucinogenic dust.

The end result is part solo-tape slosh, a wonderful brain-scramble of pinched wheels and FFW scree, part free-jam in a No-Neck style; untutored, informal and confident.

The coda takes that button-jam into new territory; I feel that I can see between the sharp interjections into another world where each personal narrative is open to edit and re-recording. An ever changing past and present, a uniquely evolving history at one point linked and uncoupled from each and every other actor in the plan.

Jesus…this is some heavy tape shit.

All essential – what the hell did you think I was gonna say?

Dugan Kelly Bandcamp

Falt Bandcamp


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