Thursday, April 30, 2015

Cassette Review: Buddhist Pill "sbec" (Meliphonic Records)

[$7 // Edition of 50 //]

One of the main things that I know about Buddhism is that you are supposed to free yourself of all earthly possessions.   I'm not sure whether or not this would include medicine, as I'm not sure of the official Buddhist stance on such matters, but I do find the idea of a Buddhist taking a pill to be a bit strange in the sense that it feels like they'd be more likely to meditate to cure a headache than pop an Ibuprofen.

"sbec" begins with a steady tone of drone.   This becomes a little bit wavy and the tones begin to drop in a way which almost sounds like a text alert on your iPhone, perhaps that is there to confuse the listener I do not know.    Guitar type of tones come out next and it sounds somewhat oriental in nature.    It grows, but there is still that drone in the background.    Some Transformers sounds come through slightly and then it starts to take a turn for the eerie.

Guitar notes begin to elicit patterns which bring to mind something that is darkwave and yet also has a weird comparison to Metallica.    This carries on for quite some time, as the overall feel of this cassette is drone, and then as the guitar notes disappear and we go straight back into the synth drone there are some slight vocals mixed in that sound like that Peter Frampton bit.

The exactness of this sound is not one that I can easily explain because even though it seems to maintain a similar sound throughout the drone, it still manages to form something I can't quite put my finger on.    Birds do come into the background chirping, but the tones remain as dark as ever.    In some ways I feel like we're going into a Blue October song and at other times I'm just not sure what to think but this isn't the concept of listening to one sound continuously but rather listening to that sound and hearing different things within it.

At some point, there comes some banging and with the other noises coming through- even some horns it would seem- it sounds like a jungle party, with all these wild animals and possibly even a banjo.    The strings then begin to come out in a banjo-plucking but also cello or violin way, as it appears as if the bow is strumming them sideways.   It's our own little chaotic symphony complete with banjo note loops.

Vocals somewhat come through with the building of the banjo loops and otherwise strings drone, but they don't say anything.    I'm not sure if the next vocal part is spoken word or audio clips, but I suspect what the male vocals are saying is actual spoken word for the cassette and the woman talking is some sort of audio clip because she sounds like some kind of witch or movie villain.

Static and drone begin Side B and we once again find ourselves with the cassette cutting in and out in volume.   This is the second cassette on this label to do this but I'm pretty sure that if something like this was an actual cassette error and not intentional then it would exist on both sides and not just Side B.    Strings come through in a dark way and as it fades in and out, the parts that get louder sound somewhere between a classical recital and a horror movie.

Going back and forth between the synth and strings, this comes through as a lot of drone as the tape malfunction seems to be cleaned up.    There are some string sliding laser sounds as well.     As it begins to skip, notes somewhat like guitars come through and there is also this sort of chugging in the background of the drone tone.    I tend to wonder if something can really be considered drone when it has all of these other facets in play behind the scenes, but the sound itself is droning so let's just stick with that.

As the synth grows a little bit wavy, the birds return and I suppose that has something to do with the Spring but who is to say exactly?    Some screeching noises manage to come out as well and I can only imagine the hawk swooping down and picking up some small rodent.    The clean synth drone returns and there are some strings in the background now as well.   I always like to call it synth drone, but this could be a violin or cello note being drawn out like this for all I know.

Slight variations come through but this is just droning now and with these little bits mixed in it is just giving you a lot to think about, so much to examine.    Space lasers eventually do begin to blast through the drone as we have some sort of "Lost in Space" adventure going on now.    This does lead to a bit of static however which seems to manipulating the tape once again.   You know, if aliens ever did decide to land and listen to our earth music I think they should start with this.   (And as per "Guardians of the Galaxy", aliens do have means of playing cassettes)

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