Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Cassette Review: Chill City Icon "Chill City Icon"

[$5 // Edition of 50 //]

While I will admit that I was not familiar with Chill City Icon prior to listening to this cassette, I kind of feel like I should have been.    I'm going to leave that thought hanging there for a minute though while I mention two things before I get into the music of it all.   First off, the cassette itself came wrapped in sheet music and I thought that was kind of neat.   Also, it came with a tiny plastic frog that said "thanks" on it, and it's the type of frog that when you push down on his butt he hops so needless to say my son has been entertained by that non-stop.

The first side of this cassette seems to be on a constant percussion and noise loop but when you read the linear notes (or the back of the cardboard sleeve) it has a lot more instruments listed (and vocals) than I hear.   In any case, as I've never been as fond of the recipe as I have been the taste, Side A has a lot of dinging and clanking.   It's the sound of of silverware or possibly even swords being shifted around and made to sound specific ways.  (But, no, let's please leave "Spoon Man" out of this)

At one point, the sound of cymbals comes out and I begin to have my illusion destroyed as I now think that maybe it has been merely been cymbals all along, but whatever I'm keeping my dream alive.    This is pretty percussion heavy though and to say it sounds mostly like that rattling of the silverware drawer mixed with cymbals would be fairly accurate.

Though I do hear a gong, and then something that could be a steel drum, so the intensity picks up along with more drums as opposed to just the cymbals side of the percussion.    Church bells emerge next- which almost come out of nowhere, yet transition so flawlessly- and then the two sounds combine to almost form a wind chimes type vibe.   This all ends with a flurry of cymbals and I feel like I did the first time I heard Jay Peele.  #lifechanging

Side B is a live piece and it has horns at the beginning but seemingly not as much towards the end.   The whirrs of "Return of the Jedi" for the Atari 2600 go in and out and this just sounds like a great live (and possibly improvised) piece of noise, which is such a vast term these days.    As I'm listening to it though, knowing it's live, all I can think is how it reminds me of a performance by the formerly known as Stephanie Lak who I now abbreviate as SMG.  (One day, she may tell the story for me)

Looking at the linear notes again for whatever reason I see one name jump out at me: Walter Wright.   Maybe it's because a lot of people aren't named Walter, but I tend to see Walters differently than everyone else and yet somehow, yes, I do recognize this Walter because he- dun dun dun- has also worked with Stephanie Lak.

As that fact comes to light this cassette begins to sound like an old friend to me.   It's the same way that two universes can both feel similar but yet they've never met before and then they do.   Like when Mork was on "Happy Days" or the Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers crossed over.   Either way, if this is new to you it certainly won't be for long.

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