Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Jason Urick on Fan Death Records

"This is Critical" is the side I was most concerned about. The sleeve is a black and white photo of a pile of handguns, brass knuckles, saws and tire irons, like a police evidence room, and whatever is contained in the grooves could go some scary places.
Thankfully it's not a hardcore assault to the senses as much as it slowly hypnotically creeps its way into your subconscious. There's so many rising and falling sounds...deep rumbles that don't even register out of the speakers until they're halfway through their cycle.

What makes a successful "noise" single anyway?

  1. It has to be made up of mostly unrecognizable sounds.
  2. It has to use time as much as a lack of melody as an element of composition, i.e. even if its seemingly droning noise there will be a subtle change when compared to where the piece started out.
  3. It helps if there's no rhythm for the sounds to get caught up in.

They are the best to review from my standpoint because they lend themselves to virtually any interpretation by default. You're never wrong and abstract instrumental music can be the best to write to anyway. Immediately its a soundtrack to something. Without a specific place-able sound there are no "players"so any imagery isn't distracted by imagining what any of these people look like and especially what they're saying. The sounds are completely alien and you're left with nothing but to wonder how it's being created and what situation spawned them. You wander...but it will always evoke something other than the idea that you are actively listening to music.

"Invisible Map" on the B-Side is a photo of the loot that the A-Side weapons took from their victims. Rings, pocket watches, spoons...there's an obvious cause and effect here, joined by the two sides. Jesus, I'm almost convincing myself singles have everything to do with that good and evil dichotomy. Black and white...the A-Side and the B-Side.
It's also reminding me of William Basinski's Disintegration Loops..or Decasia. It's super extended at 33 1/3 speed, really neverending and takes the entire time to slowly evolve. I think at times I hear human voices? But at this kind of slow speed, it could be anything. It gets vaguely electronic at points, like a digitally manipulated voice that's been resampled, slowing it down further and further like some kind of Richard D James sample.
Both of the sides sound like they've been already playing for some time and we just happened to stumble in on them. Setting down the needle sounds like the tape playing is only then just winding up...getting up to speed. "Invisible Map" isn't as ominous sounding as "This is Critical" thanks to a shimmery the heavens are parting synth sound that keeps working it's way up through the background.

It's really the only time I think a 7" just doesn't do this the proper justice.

Jason has a great interview/video at pitchfork of all places.

Get it from Fan Death Records.

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