steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Sistrum / Metal Tech / Das Torpedoes / Arnoux

4-way split cassette

Unread Records

Genres: DIY, experimental, field recordings, noise

PO Box 3462
Omaha NE 68103

Mar 8 - 14 2004

Experimental/noise split cassettes are far from uncommon, but this abundance of releases is part of what makes the genre so appealing.  Sure, there's plenty of stuff you'd be tempted to pass over, but there's also lots of really incredible, mind-opening neat music out there.  While lots of these gems are out-of-print, formerly available in limited quantities from eighties-era Japanese tape labels, there are also a few more accessible, still-active depositories for modern DIY experimentalism.  Unread comes to mind here - for many years now, it's been a consistently solid purveyor of unusual, genre-bending sounds.

This four-way split, an exceedingly pleasant cacophony of found sounds, field recordings, and intriguing performance art, is a pure success.  DIY landmarks Sistrum and Arnoux are paired with Metal Tech and Das Torpedoes, whose names I've known for awhile but whose sounds I've never laid ears upon before.

Arnoux starts us off with his quarter of the cassette, entitled "Beams if Cygnus."  Like most of this tape's duration, it makes for perfect headphone material.  Weird piles of noisy, mixed-up avant-gardisms are thrown at the listener's unfortunate ears.  Guitar and strings are available in doses, as are some bizarre vocal found sounds.  This is creepy, creepy stuff - the type you'd play in dark catacombs at night.

Sistrum follows with "Sudden Household," an interesting and crisp recording of some sort of ambient performance.  As opposed to synthesized or melodic sounds, Sistrum offers up an interesting performance comprised of the clanking and glugging of seemingly household objects.

Das Torpedoes's quarter, "Hoou," meanwhile, is a bit noisy, hoisting something of an industrial influence, and Metal Tech's four compositions are interesting sonic tidbits of assorted performance art-esque experimentalism.

All in all, this is a terrific DIY experimental split.  Although it is far from "noise" as some audiences may expect, it is nonetheless a terrific tape of intriguing avant-garde sounds.  A must for the truly daring listener.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 7 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2003]