Tuesday, October 7, 2014

CASSETTE REVIEW: Hotel 1: Monochromacy / Steve Flato (SadoDaMascus Records)

            I actually saw Hotel 2 on Bandcamp before I knew that Hotel 1 existed.  I try to check the new releases for cassettes every day on Bandcamp, but I somehow missed this one until I saw the second come out.    As this was still available, I quickly ordered them both because I so enjoyed the Consumer cassette put out by SadoDaMascus Records.   The one funny thing about this though is that Hotel 1 is a split cassette and so I would have assumed they’d all be splits if I didn’t know that Hotel 2 is not.    Kind of strange how things like that can work out, but otherwise the music remains because I still listened to this one first.

            This is a live improvised one take session and I do enjoy those types of sessions perhaps the most.   Monochromacy starts us off with quiet, ambient drone.   It has the feel of a long sunrise and I realize saying that somehow makes it sound more uplifting (or me more positive) since I didn’t say sunset.   There is a little bit of melody, a little bit of distortion.   Throughout the first side, which is all Monochromacy, the static, distortion and wind maintain, only ever changing slightly.   It ends on some quiet tones as well.

            On Side B, Steve Flato brings out some crackling sounds with a slight rattling.  It is the drone of the buzz/hum that both separates this and makes it similar to Side A.   Slicing synth gives way to glitchy static which makes me think of a Ghost in the Machine type of scenario.   A high, sharp Masters of the Universe keytar type of sound cuts in and out.   Ultimately, this is just that perfect mix of static and sharp drone noises that reminds me of JML, Breakdancing Ronald Reagan, etc.

            So as far as splits go, this is amongst the best kind: two artists who are similar enough to be related yet distinguishable enough in their own rights.   The fact that it was all recorded in one take with improvisation key just makes it that much better.  

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