Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Cassette Review: Nick Hennies "Casts" (Astral Spirits)

[$7 // Edition of 150 // http://monofonuspress.com/store/nick-hennies-2]

"Casts" begins in perhaps the most unique manner I have ever heard a cassette begin.  The word "car" is repeated a number of times.   I wasn't about to go and count how many times exactly, though I'm sure Nick Hennies knows and others have counted as well and of course now that I'm typing about it I kind of want to count as well, but it's probably close to 100 if I had to guess.    Though it is spoken by a human voice it has a robotic element to it.   Perhaps it is because he is saying "car", but I think of it as the way a car itself would talk.

There exists a scene in some movie- and I want to say "Die Hard with a Vengeance" because I want to believe Bruce Willis is in it- where a car has its door taken off and the car itself begins saying "Right door is ajar" repeatedly.   My other potential options for that scene include both "Judge Dredd" (less likely) and "Demolition Cop" (probably) and, yes, when I figure it out by rewatching the movies one day I will probably comment as means to updating this.

The repetition of the word "car" has a dinging then becomes joined with it until the word disappears and it is only the dinging.    This is the type of sound that you would expect to hear when you leave your car door wide open but yet your keys are still stuck in the ignition.    It could be the sound of something else, but since he repeated the word "car" so many times it's what my mind was trained to hear.   Interesting, no?  He could have said "sub" over and over and that could have had me thinking of that final dinging as being sonar.

A xylophone trill comes in next to bring us to some sort of normalcy.    It's dreamy in its nature because it comes out times as if a harp is being strum from the heavens or the Brady kids are coming down the stairs.    This turns into a much louder sound next, which generates a sharp feedback.    There is a quieter, sonar burn to end out Side A and, again, I'm telling you about that mind control from the first second.

Side B begins with a grinding, a soddering and I'm not sure what's happening exactly but there is some sort of saw involved.    This turns into a low dialtone in the sense that it isn't fully audible to the human ear but comes out more like some kind of dog whistle.   Yes, I am rather certain that if I had a dog near me when I was listening to this they could have a different reaction than my cats, who just stayed still and unaffected.

It becomes eerie next, which produces low cries and they almost sound like whimpers.    This turns into the sound of waves but it is quieter, calmer somehow and just overall soothing.   As a parent I might be biased, but I imagine this second side- at least the second half of it or so- as having to do with trying to get a child to sleep.   From the crying (Babies cry but so do toddlers) to the eventual ocean sounds which could perhaps be made by a stuffed animal with electronic box inside (My son had the popular "sleep sheep"), this does seem like a page right out of the parental diaries.

Regardless of what is happening here, there is quite a bit going on no matter how one dimensional it might seem given my take on it thus far.  For example, when the word "car" is repeated there is a point where a sound is made as if the person talking is catching their breath.    This is done in what I believe to be a pattern and as such I believe that if the word "car" is said 100 times then it could be repeated 20 times in a row and then looped five times over.

The very fact that I can think so far into this, needing questions answered and just never really hearing anything quite like it before should be reason enough for you to check it out because let's face the facts people- I listen to A LOT of music.

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