Saturday, July 7, 2012

                  Cathartech & Noisepoetnobody "Split Cassette" Review

     This is a lovely edition. A high quality tape, metal screws and all, housed in a sleeve with vertiginous, hazy artwork that matches the haunting sounds contained within. There is no label name or catalogue number, so I'm not sure who is responsible for this release, or how many copies were made, but it is very much worth your time to find a copy if you love synth, drone, and classical industrial soundtracks.
     Starting with a faint, heartbeat-like pulse gradually encased in fuzzy layers of subterranean drone and crackle, Noisepoet evokes the menacing, paranoid atmosphere of some early Sterile Records releases. Appropriately titled "Nervous", this opening track fades into shimmering rays of suffocated light as the motorik pulse of "Popular" picks up the tempo but keeps the industrial atmosphere intact. A keening electrical hum limns the rhythmic background. Synths chirp and skitter like stones on the surface of a pond. Casey's compositional skills shine here, as he subtly layers sounds, putting minimal elements into relation with one another in a manner that delivers a cohesive narrative. "Negligent" closes the A side with an arrythmic mosaic of machine chirps and bass pulses that is completely absorbing and nervously meditative. Casey has a large body of work under his belt, so there is much to choose from. But this one is a must have for anyone who wants a solid showcase of his compositional strengths and textural strategies.
     Cathartech steps up for the B-side with a high lonesome drone of mournful electricity, sounding like a close miked circuit breaker. Behind this austere hum what sound like insects and birds offer a counterpoint to the technological sounds. The contrast creates a beautifully affective mood as more layers arrive. Over the course of this side, "The Electric Tuvan" captivates, like that moment when an alarm clock interrupts a dream, but extended into a long form timestretch. The layers and volume build and build, shaking the walls, as the piece rises to a dramatic conclusion, rich with emotion, and ends abruptly.
     Overall, a sophisticated and moving collaboration by two of Seattle's finest craftsmen. Go get this!

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