Tuesday, September 23, 2014

CASSETTE REVIEW: Jen Reimer + Max Stein “Lisboa / Skagaströnd” (Hula Honeys)

            To show you just how the world can come together and bond over cassettes, this is from a Swiss based label that features Jen Reimer (a Canadian) and Max Stein from the U.S.  Granted I also live in the U.S. but if someone was to buy this in Spain or France think of all the ground this single cassette would have covered.   

            This fact gets me to thinking that I’ve never been outside of the United States (no joke) and as much as I want to visit foreign soil, my plan is to now do so later on in life when my son is old enough to go with me and appreciate it as well.  Oh, to buy a cassette in another country and bring it back home with me would be such a treat.   Imagine a cassette from a French label that I actually went to Paris to get!

            In any case, this is split because they are two sort of separate pieces of music but they are both collaborations between Reimer and Stein.    As it begins for the first side, which is “Lisboa”, it is so quiet that I’m not sure anything is going to happen.  I had to put earbuds in immediately to try and contain the sound, but I was thinking briefly that I had received a blank cassette in error.

            There is a slight bit of quiet static and a whirr sound which could be described as minimal.  It breaks and picks up a little bit, but only really enough to let you know that it’s there.   Dark strings come out, perhaps from a cello, and it sounds like underwater radar.   It is calm, serene and slightly wavy.   It very, very gradually builds and then sharp feedback emerges bringing it into a drone with water dripping.

            On the flip side, we have the quiet again before what sounds like a thunderstorm comes out.  There is the sound of actual ocean waves coming through and magical keys somehow flow with the tides.    The crashes maintain their intensity throughout most of the second piece, but it does manage to once again end quietly.

            So for all of this borderline silence that made me question whether or not this was something (and I did eventually hear the sounds, as you will too) there is quite a bit going on.    It isn’t really a lot of nothing as much as it is a lot for nothing and thus I have to go with the typical cliché of thinking of this as being like the color black.   In essence, black is the presence of all colors.  So you think of it as being so simple, so one dimensional, yet so many different facets go into making it.   Thus is the story of this cassette as well.  

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