Thursday, April 30, 2015
Cassette Review: hicksoncompactgroup "Timbres"
[$1 // Edition of 10 // https://hicksoncompactgroup.bandcamp.com/album/timbres]
If you ever want to release a cassette yourself and are attempting to buy blank cassettes in bulk, you'll find that they are usually sold in increments of 25 (So, 25, 50, 100, etc.) and as such I feel like all of these blank cassettes exist out there that are going unused because of releases in editions of 30 or 40 or something that doesn't conform to the pattern of 25. In this way, I like to think of these extra cassettes as being the type of thing defrag would take care of in a computer sense. So right now my theory as to how hicksoncompactgroup can release this cassette for only $1 is because perhaps they got the blanks from someone who simply had a few left over and so they got a really good deal on them. Still doesn't account for shipping costs though, so if there is a way to get free shipping from the post office can someone please let me know.
"Timbres" begins with some soft tones, kind of like a little church drone. It's minimal and ambient, which makes sense to anyone who has ever listened to hicksoncompactgroup before. Through some static fog comes strings which have an electronic feel to them. It's almost as if an accordion is coming into the background somehow. This has the build of a jet engine and then also some Transformers synth. It's hollow drone, subwaves as it is sort of underwater and there is also some sharpness at the end of the first side.
On the flip side we begin with whirrs/ringing in synth drone. There are slight alterations but this goes on for some time. Then notes come out like a broken piano (or the destruction of a piano, as if each key pressed is breaking in the process) and this reminds me of something between Underwater Escape from the Black Hole and Nine Inch Nails. The sound comes back up with a slight ringing and then footsteps. A hollow, minimal quietness takes us into uplifting synth tones which might also be the return of the accordion.
Ambient bliss takes us into space ala Doctor Who with whirrs and synth laser blasts. Oriental string plucks round it out as being somewhat western, but I do so enjoy imagining someone who is part samurai, part cowboy and just completely in space. (I'd argue "Firefly", but none of them had samurai swords) There is a long note in drone that I believe comes from a cello and then we loop back into that previous samurai/western vibe, which I feel needs a comic book to go with it.
By no means am I counting my reviews for hicksoncompactgroup, though I do know that I am trying to review everything released under the name (I'd guess this is maybe my third or fourth cassette? I know I did a CD as well though) but I do enjoy these still and that goes a long way in explaining to you why you should listen to this as well. The very fact that they can still inspire me just goes to show you that one day I will get all of this music together and listen to it as one long piece.