Posts Tagged ‘split LP’

ChristopherNosnibor

The split album seems to be in vogue again, and it’s a format which perhaps offers more scope for artists who don’t trade in punchy little tunes than the split single or EP. Shine on you Crazy Diagram may only contain four tracks and have a running time of just over thirty minutes, but it allows both contributing acts to showcase the range of their sound by presenting expanded, developed musical works.

The two tracks by Splitter Orchestra explore and examine weird digital percussion: the ever-shifting pitch creates the illusion of ever-shifting tempo (or does it? Perhaps the tempo does shift albeit subtly) beneath whistling contrails of feedback. They sputter and scrape and drone and hum. ‘Diagram 1’, at under four and a half minutes, is but a prelude to its counterpart, ‘Diagram 2’ which hums and wheezes for almost eleven minutes. There are rhythms in the mix, but they’re pinned back in the mix and bounce around against a shimmering backdrop of feedback and extraneous noise.

Kubin’s compositions are altogether less overtly structured, or at least rhythmic, as swampy swashes and thumps rumble and eddy before – from seemingly out of nowhere – faceripping blasts of distortion roar and blast. ‘Lückenschere’ is constructed around a clattering, shifting rhythm.

‘Lichtsplitter’ clatters and moans and hums and drones for an eternity, before stepping up about ten gars. By the end, one has a fair idea of what it just be like to stand within two feet of a Boeing 474 taking off.

This is, without doubt, one of those releases which lends itself perfectly to vinyl: it is, after all, an album of two halves. They compliment and contrast, and showcase two quite different sides of the experimental digital coin.

There’s a digital bonus track from the Splitter Orchester. ‘Diagram 3’ is a ten-minute extravaganza of thick, impenetrable hums and drones. It might not exactly change the complexion of the release, but it does unquestionably fill out and round off the intangible, non-physical format nicely.

Splitter Orchestra   Felix Kubin

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Front & Follow – F&F044 – 8th July 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

With this release, Front & Follow inaugurate a new series of split cassette and download releases. The premise is that the artists are given a side apiece, and while the idea is that they’re encouraged to collaborate, it’s essentially down to the acts involved. This first ‘Blow’ release features a total of nineteen tracks, with ten from Hoofus, seven from IX Tab and a brace of joint efforts.

The ten Hoofus track are first, and if the titles, in their evocations of ancient lore, mysticism and history, seem at odds with the bubbling synth cycles which form their fabric, then it’s a reflection of the infinite contradictions which define Hoofus’ enigmatic sound. Shimmering, throbbing and needling, the scratchy, fuzzy tones cover the full sonic spectrum in infinite, iridescent hues. Occasionally sliding into unusual time signatures and oddly dissonant passages – the wonky keys of ‘Twentythree Seven’ shouldn’t work, but instead it’s rather magical – their ten tracks are beautifully weird, and weirdly beautiful. The notes roll and bend, wobble and warp, layering up to form a rich latticework. The effect is to create music that transcends music, enveloping the listener in a thick, pulsating aural blanket. It’s an immersive, multisensory experience, akin to how I would imagine simultaneously being under water and watching the Arora Borealis.

IX Tab’s eight tracks are quite different in tone: more overtly electronic, bleeping, swooshing and rippling notes scurry across one another in vintage sci-fi style. The dizzyingly hectic compositions are contrasted by sedate ambient segments. Samples – snippets of dialogue and lopped phrases – feature heavily, and there’s an overtly experimental air to the tracks. Trilling pipes and rattling chimes flit alongside woozy, opiate drones and church song. The nine-minute ‘The Herepath Comes Away’ is a magnificently expansive, atmospheric work, and something of a standout as it leads the listener on a curious journey of the mind.

The two collaborative tracks, credited to Hoofus & IX Tab, work precisely because they sound like a hybrid of the two acts. ‘The Ministry of Ontological Insecurity’ features sampled voices repeating the statement ‘I don’t believe in me’ (occasionally interspersed with variants ‘I don’t believe in you / him/ her / them’) over a drifting dark ambient backdrop fractured with incidental sonic incursions. ‘The Ploughs & Machines’, which closes the album also incorporates samples and woozy electro oddness with shifting time signatures to mesmerising and disorienting effect.

Individually and collectively, Hoofus and IX Tab have conjured an album that reaches for the outer limits and transports the listener to them and then beyond.

 

Hoofus   IX Tab