Blake Hargreaves and Katherine Kline began working as Dreamcatcher in Montreal during 2004 and are anything but the hippie jamband that their name may imply. This LP captures two of the duos early tape releases in reissue form. “Prom Night” was originally released by American Tapes in 2005 and “Eyes Of Leatherface” was released by Heresee in 2004. These are two labels that I hope need no introduction but are, just in case for the uninitiated, run by John Olson (Wolf Eyes) and Twig and Carly (Nautical Almanac), respectively. Both entities are responsible for disseminating a new generation of challenging music that is all too often catagorized as merely “noise,” but encompasses a uniquely 21st century approach to electronics-based free improvisation. Oh well, such is western culture's predilection for pigeonholes.
“Tuppet” kicks off like a U.S. Maple out-take drowned in tepid PBR at the end of a particularly rough night which is nothing to get hung about. Disjointed rhythms and obscured vocal offerings add a sense of soused ritualism to the proceedings and keep it real. The guitar work stands out overall and is only a moment or two away from some serious alley-dwelling paranoia. “Prom Night” establishes some Black Dice-esque groove and bass for squealing and crushing over. Very musically and tastefully done for some catchy shit, not unlike early TG. There's tension and there's the hook so something's got to give eventually, right? It inevitably does, but the way in which it takes its sweet time makes for some fucking great music. There's not a moment misspent here including the abrupt high frequency that aborts the piece. The final track on Side A chimes in at only four minutes but brings some new aesthetics to the table. Gentle metallic timbres bounce around before becoming usurped in a froth of noise that is deftly controlled into bringing the strangely psychedelic voicings and awkward pauses exemplified at the beginning of the side back home to roost. Nice.
The second side of the LP begins with the end of the “Prom Night” session. There's a much more open sound here, like an intro leading you into a sonic ass-kicking, yet more controlled in its delivery. The landscape is bleak but densely populated with friendly creatures of varying shapes and sizes. There's an invitation to dance, but on whose terms is yet to be determined and ultimately makes no difference. This shit doesn't need a beat to rock, the pulse is inherently felt and grooves along the contour of noise. “Eyes Of Leatherface” has a locust-like pulse over which manipulated vocal moans and feedback squeals play over until the low-frequency goblins take control. The rhythmic figure that ensues is infectious and provides a nice backdrop for more vocal workouts and a backwards-guitar loop, but never really matches up to the “Prom Night” material. That is until the end which is a bit of cumulative psychedelic noise fuckery that should soothe even the most savage soul.
If you're like me and missed these original tape issues, then behold this and rejoice. On the other hand, there are only 300 of these on clear vinyl and perhaps collectors are in a further conundrum. I could compare these guys to other duos like Reverse Mouth, Slasher Risk or Nautical Almanac all day long, but they still have a sound all their own. I'm happy to hear it and look forward to hearing something more recent. Word.
BALTIMORE CITY PAPER
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Best Record Label
JEFFERSON JACKSON STEELE
The label maintained by Nautical Almanac’s Carly Ptak and Twig Harper is No. 1 in our hearts if only for its steady supply of Nautical Almanac recordings and CD-Rs by Ptak and Harper. But HereSee is no self-serving cottage industry. In addition to putting out Ptak’s sublime CD/DVD Both and the NautAlm’s cardboard three-box set of a tape loop, a lathe-cut 33 rpm LP, and a mini CD-R, HereSee is responsible for some of the most off-the-map sounds found anywhere in the past 12 months. The Answer Tapes is a collection of found and “appropriated” answering-machine tapes put together by Michael Barker. Dreamcatcher’s Eyes of Leatherface cassette catches a nice hair-raising from some wiggy Canadians. And in the true outsider reissue gift of the year, HereSee (in conjunction with True Vine Records) put out two releases from a 6-foot-9 Polish man from Chicago named James Pobiega, who performs under the name Little Howlin’ Wolf. Words fail to do justice to the man’s music. Just pick up any of the two singles CD-R volumes or the Brave Nu World LP and find out for yourself.
released December 31, 2006
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