Thursday, February 12, 2015

Cassette Review: Roadside Picnic split with Maurizio Bianchi (Unit Structure Sound Recordings)

[$7 CAD // //]

I have a collaboration cassette from both of these artists as well but I decided to listen to this one first.  I already am well aware of Roadside Picnic but don't recall hearing Maurizio Bianchi before so this is going to be my introduction to him before listening to the joint effort from the two.

Side A (or what I like to call Side A) is Roadside Picnic and God bless the people at Unit Structure Sound Recordings for including in the linear notes that this side, since it has the USSR logo on it, is the Roadside Picnic side.    It begins with oriental type tones which have some sort of drums behind them I can't quite place.    A banging loop comes out next, as if something is being banged upon (pots and pans, only plastic) and then it is stopped and repeated fairly coherently.    Moments of what could be considered glitch noise ultimately take us into light drum beats with cymbal crashes and tones in a specific pattern that have an understated melody to them.

This pattern of tones goes on for quite a while with the drums and then some grinding gear type synth sound enters in the background as well.    Don't ask me why but I feel like we're in some sort of organ grinder and other noises sound like my tinnitus but are not directly in my ear.   (Thankfully I have listened to this both with and without earbuds for that reason)  It makes me think I'm in some sort of sleep study chamber for some reason as it can become rather hypnotic yet also make me feel confined.

As this changes it goes into some more spatial type of sounds, whirring in and out, with this constant drum tapping in the background that could drive a less patient person insane.     Even as something a little bit closer to ambient synth comes through in waves, I can still hear that beating, like the Tell Tale Heart, and it doesn't lead me to confession because I don't have a guilty conscience but I'm not sure what it wants from me and that does trouble me.

Loops of clanking come out next which fall somewhere between the sounds of a train and the chains of something out of "A Christmas Carol", so once again I feel like it wants me to confess but to what I have no idea.     This concludes with a somewhat abrupt end but I cannot complain because it seemingly snaps me out of whatever spell I might have been under.

Side B begins with melodies whirring around inside some sort of musical shaker.    It is definitely trippy whether or not it is intended to be but I feel like it's a little bit closer to the edge that it wants to be so.   This has me wondering how these two artists are going to work together, finding even more ways to mess with my mind.    This shifts focus into a ringing of waves like something between space and Darth Vader/Transformers.   It's not hypnotic right away but does grow to be as such.

Distinctive sounds come out next and have this siren-like back and forth quality to them.    They are on loops, yes, but they are still going back and forth like some wild carousel ride from hell.    Their rhythm has me singing along even though there are no words.    This all settles down a little bit the sound of floating in space, which is primarily lead by some whirrs and other sounds you might just hear in orbit.

For quite some time, this side of the cassette has me feeling as if I'm lost in space.   A number of factors contribute to this, most of which will make complete sense to you once you hear this for yourself.    A bit of mechanical shaking synth throws us out of that approach though and brings on something different from what could have felt like a carnival ride in some ways but now just seems like you're being thrown into a grinder.

As I begin to wonder how long this will burn at my very being it simply ceases and the rest of this side is filled with silence.    This cassette doesn't feel like how long it is when you count the minutes because it doesn't have that comparison point to anything else.    This is one of those movies that is four hours long but doesn't feel four hours long.   It's not a simple set of eight or twelve songs that you might find on a typical album but it feels more like a boxed set.   I'm guess I'm trying to say that this doesn't feel like a single serving but rather much grander.

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