Thursday, April 30, 2015
Cassette Review: Graceless "Mare" (Meliphonic Records)
[$7 // Edition of 50 // https://meliphonicrecords.bandcamp.com/album/mare]
While I normally like to start my reviews with a paragraph about the artist's name or the cassette title or whatever, I'm going to skip the small talk here because there is just so much going on within this Graceless cassette I need to be sure I get it all down.
"Mare" begins with the sound of synth organs which can only bring to my mind the sound of the Undertaker's first ever WWE theme song and in some ways I remember playing the old video games for WWE as well that had that particular song turned to 8bit (I do believe it was in a WWE arcade game) and it also seems a bit like that over the traditional version of it. This goes on for some time and has waves between 8bit and accordion sounds. There are deep, deep notes as if we're underwater before the birds begin to chirp and that original synth organ sound fades.
Crowd sounds come through next, as if this is a field recording, and then dark, Transformers drone comes out. For as much drone as there seemingly is on this cassette, you'd be surprised by how long it goes and yet how much it fits within the space. You could tell me this cassette was three hours and it still seems like- on paper- only one of these movements would be possible.
Through slight waves the intensity grows and the sound becomes somewhat hollow. Pianos begin to come through and then we shift into an ambient glow drone. It's wavy and as the waves go up and down, on the up part it can even sound a little bit sharp. String synth drone comes out next and brings up influences of UWEFTBH and Lost Trail. Something close to vocals appears in the background, in an "ahhh" way, and then we sort of take a trip back to the beginning with snake charmer tones yet lots of static drone still.
Side B begins with deep sea strings drone which somehow transfer into space whirrs and, yes, we've just gone from sea to space, which seems to be a more common occurance than you might think. The music then becomes dark like Nine Inch Nails with the tones still droning. It's ghostly and there is an industrial build to it as well. After some static drone synth crashes the tape begins to glitch and I believe it is on purpose. The volume begins to fade in and out, so at times it is louder than others, and I will admit to turning it up which later came back to haunt me and was perhaps the artist's intent.
Quieter notes do come through as the volume is turned down and I wasn't sure how to describe them at first but then I realized it simply sounds like the guitar notes in a somewhat serious scene from "Lethal Weapon", like maybe somebody's house just blew up or Riggs is talking about why he lives on the edge. I'm not sure what you call it exactly but it just reminds me of scenes from that franchise, which I haven't watched for quite some time.
This also brings out a sort of FNL sound, as it cuts in and out, and then there is some harsh static with lasers which of course is one of the parts which cuts in louder. Synth drone, static fog with the sound of a fan blade cutting through the air becomes synth that resembles the patterns of breathing. Bugzapper sounds come through in waves to end the cassette.
Usually, I'd give you some sort of story to go with a cassette such as "Mare" by Graceless, as it seems to be painting that audio picture, but if you can't listen to this and find inspiration to create at least one visual project than I must call into question your creativity because Graceless is dropping muse bombs like no one has before. Just so much goodness in here you need this in your life.