Friday, June 12, 2015
Cassette Review: Carbon and Soul "Opus 1: Tranquility via a small triumph of will."
[$5 // https://carbonandsoul.bandcamp.com/album/opus-1-tranquility-via-a-small-triumph-of-will]
When I first began listening to primarily cassettes- putting them at the front of all other media- I found the genres of both "noise" and "drone". One thing that noise likes to do is loop, but other genres do it as well. And then drone, well, that's just droning. The way that I like to think of the two- in relation to each other- is like a car driving down an open road, an endless highway of sorts that's nothing but long, flat pavement. The tire, of course, going around and around is like a loop. It's repeating. The pavement being driven on is the drone, as it is constant, remaining the same. So when I put on this cassette by Carbon and Soul I heard something that was halfway between these two things, and yet there is so little space between a tire and the road.
"Opus 1" opens up with bliss tones of some sort in a loop. It kicks in like a magic spell and then begins to get wavy. There is some distortion and in some odd way it sounds like it could be an instrumental section from a song by Stabbing Westward or the second album by Bush (but just a section of one of those songs on repeat mind you, not a good representation of either artist in the pure sense, which is fine) It's trippy, it's dreamy and there is a little bit of video game quality to it as well that makes me question whether it is on a loop or drone.
On Side B we are greeted with harmonies in an electronic sort of string section type of sound. It's like an accordion only plugged in and cranked out through an amp and then put into some kind of loop/sound sample pattern. There is a sort of static to it, but not really, I think just the way that it sounds seem to create an illusion of static more than anything else (Again, magic!) It is ambient and there is an ominous build as well. It's not quite a horror movie, though it could be borderline something by John Carpenter ("The Fog" does come to mind) and I just feel it's closer to something full of suspense than something stabby. There are moment of crystal, that MOTU key and before it's all said and done it can even sound mechanical.
Now, attaching the name "wave" to music has always had different meanings because of "new wave" and now there is just about every word you can think of out there in front of "wave" as a genre. (Except for maybe "genre". There is no "genrewave"... yet) But when I think of waves, I still think of the ocean. So imagine for me, if you will, the way that the ocean waves go out to sea. Up and down, up and down. ____/\___/\___/\___/\___/\___ and so on. It continues in a slightly changing pattern, so it's not purely drone but the way it *sort of* goes on a straight line makes me think of drone more than loops. But the repeating of the waves going up and then coming back down makes me think of a loop.
If someone emails me and says that there is a genre called "loopwave" and this is what I'm describing I'm going to lose my shit. If someone takes this idea, this concept I'm describing and dubs it "loopwave" I'm going to be even more upset because I think "loopwave" is a dumb term. (Unless "loopwave" means something else completely and in that case, all the best to you!) I just don't feel like there is an accurate name for what Carbon and Soul does here, but it is soothing, it is pretty and it's between two places while not exclusively being in either one of them. If that doesn't sound like something you want to hear I must question how you found this review in the first place.