Posts Tagged ‘allbum review’

DRET 05 — 2nd April 2021

The fifth release on Swedish label Dret Skivor, which coincides with another Bandcamp Friday, is Blue Oblivion by Tore Honoré Bøe. Information about the artist or the material is non-existent, so everything is left open for the listener to extract and interpret from these layered sonic collages. My initial response is the ocean, being immersed in the vastness of the expanse – or, more specifically, drowning, before my thoughts turn upwards, to the eternal endlessness of the sky. Starring up on a cloudless say, it’s easy to lose yourself in the infinite space.

But the sonics captured here evoke neither. This is, for the most part, a snarling, swirling tempest of electronics pushed to – and beyond – their limits, a shrilled, shrieking assault on the senses that utterly engulfs: this is not a pleasurable or ecstatic oblivion, but the oblivion that arrives as a welcome relief from a relentless battering.

On the first piece, ‘Foosa!’ a piano note fades into the fog as a crackle of static builds to a sustained fizz. Scrapes and drones take on the presence of creeping chords in the absence of any overt musicality. It howls and wails and drills into the cranium randomly, one shill blast of noise replaced by another shrill blast of noise of a different frequency. Like cowboys armed with two pistols shooting from each hand alternately, Tore fires off drill-like frequencies one after the other, hand over hand, whirring and buzzing… and then it’s all down the toilet in a single plunge.

‘We Love King Julien!’ is less abrasive, at least initially, but no less challenging: a woozy, stammering mess of glitching drone that cracks and churns through a succession of misaligned subsequences that stammer and lurch, it’s a different kind of discoordinating. Metallic smashes scrape and buckle to forge brain-clenching streams of static noise that bubbles and churns. In time, it all breaks down into a mess of fractured noise and fizzing static, a horrible mass of treble that jumbles all focus. It descends into alternating drones and explosive blasts of speaker-shredding noise, and culminates is a tsunami of churning while noise and synapse-melting overload across a wheezing drone so flat it feels like it died a long time previous.

There is no kind or considered response to this, no neat finisher. It’s not an easy or pleasant release – but then, that’s not what Dret ‘do’, and seemingly, it’s not what Tore Honoré Bøe does either.

Blue Oblivion is unquestionably immersive, but it’s not entertainment: this is harsh, uncomfortable nose. It’s noise to lose yourself in.

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Cat Werk Imprint – 7th February 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

‘Walk away… walk around it.’ On the page, the words are devoid of threat or menace. But delivered in a fractured, disembodied voice that carries a strange sense of madness, it takes on altogether different shades of unsettling uncanniness. Amidst creeping fear chords, clicking insectoid flickers and scrapes and scratches, the voice, childlike and compressed warps and twists, as through refracted through a temporal veil or a spiritual force-field of some description. It feels like a communiqué from the other side. The voice is that of celebrated modernist sculptor and Henry Moore contemporary Barbara Hepworth, and this is one of the early moments on Olivia Louvel’s latest release, a work which forms the basis of the artist’s Masters degree, in which she investigates the voice ‘from preservation to resounding, while taking further the voice of Hepworth into the physical space as a multi-speaker diffusion’.

The source material is a 1961 recording of Barbara Hepworth’s voice, recorded by Hepworth herself in her studio in St Ives, the tape’s initial purpose was for a recorded talk with slides for the British Council, with an original duration of thirty-two minutes. Louvel’s resounding is of a similar duration, but instead of a linear narration which details the artist’s working methods, we get scrambled cut-up snippets which strangely still give a semblance of sense, reducing the extrapolations to the barest bones to give a sense of Hepworth’s creative processes and focus. But them, Willian Burroughs suggested that cutting up text (and for the purpose of this discussion, we’ll consider audio a form of text) reveals the truth, and while Hepworth’s talk isn’t brimming with political rhetoric and doublespeak, one feels that Louvel’s cut-up of her words does perhaps bring us closer to the heart of her meaning.

‘Must Carve a Stone’ loops and layers a breathy whisper of the word ‘carve’, which becomes an unsettling mantra. Minimal glitchtronica and hovering, echoing notes provide a ponderous, stammering backdrop to the looping, multi-tracked vocal layerings of ‘I Draw What I Feel in My Body’, and the sparse arrangement creates an uneasy backdrop to the words.

There isn’t a moment that’s comfortable or easy here, and Louvel’s ‘resounding’ of Hepworth is relentlessly challenging as an auditory and sensory experience. But it’s also impressive in the way that it provokes the listener to awaken those senses and absorb a multi-faceted presentation of what it is to be an artist.

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