Thursday, June 4, 2015
Cassette Review: CounterRucking "Concision"
[$7 // Edition of 48 // https://counterrucking.bandcamp.com/album/concision]
Obviously if you know me and my curious nature I had to know what "rucking" meant since I wasn't aware of the word before this. If this is "counter" it as well then that means it's against it, so I definitely felt like I had to know what it was since this was an opposite of it in a sense. And, yeah, rucking is a form of exercise where you go running and put weights in your backpack or something. I didn't really read too far into it, but I also just found out what a "burpee" was (in terms of exercise) this week so I think that's enough physical education for now.
"Concision" begins with something that could be either an audio clip or spoken word. This speaking does occur throughout Side A at various points, but when it comes out right now, right away, I feel like it is an actual spoken word piece and not an audio clip. There are skipping whirrs and in the background grow some horns and/or strings. The words "first impression" are spoken, but chopped up in a way that you might not get them. A sharpness comes out for the first time- but will stick around- as there is some banging around in the background. It's not pots and pans and it's not percussion, but it's somewhere in between that.
As a guitar rattles, words are spoken once again and I'm beginning to hear that it might be an audio clip as opposed to spoken word. This just makes me think that if it is an audio clip here, it's probably an audio clip every time but I cannot be 100% certain on that. Singing comes out like moans. A big distorted patch makes its way through the circuits, but only once. Guitars that are not quite western (I call them "Django guitars") come out with some sharpness now.
The audio clip says something about being a religious fanatic and discusses things of that nature. Electronic tones give way to Doctor Who type of synth whirr manipulation. It then takes a turn for the full on bliss trippy. Static blasts come out next with some Hitchcock vibes in the background. Quieter whirrs come out, like the intro to the STP song "Vaseline", and then that background banging is back again. A dark, lulling lightsaber sound takes us into blissful tones.
The sound of plugging into an amp is mixed with the electric hair trimmer (which I might just refer to now as "hair cuttery") and this goes in and out in waves. At one point I think it might be over, but it comes right back. There is some buzzing/humming that isn't really a bug zapper but that's as close as a comparison as I can make. It has this pattern to it of which I would imagine going up and down on a graph. This is how the first side ends.
Side B begins with an audio clip that has some of the words repeated and moved around about a shooting and something being unusual. It's some sort of manipulated poetry the Beats only wish they could have had the technology to pull off. The National Guard gets named dropped as they talk about two factions fighting and "it has to be war". Sometimes, the words all blur over each other and it sounds like Charlie Brown's parents.
It reminds me a bit of news clips, the audio from them at least, and it's being mixed around and used at the artist's discretion. There is no music or other sounds behind all of this though, it's simply like listening to a Winston Churchill speech or something similar but all mashed up. There is something about bicycles and how they put an orange net around us and everyone inside the net was arrested. Apparently, as per the next audio clip, police use flexible orange netting to arrest protesters.
Electronic whirrs do come out eventually, with other sounds of a similar sort, and in the front of it all though I can just hear Coco from "Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends" for some reason. It gets distorted in some way that does bring it closer to a bug zapper but isn't quite that or static. Whooshes come through in a way Trent Reznor might have used on the album "Wish", which I also own on cassette so maybe someone cut that apart and put it together in here (Probably not though)
Modem sounds begin to mix in as there is also this chugging like a train and the tones I heard back and forth previously and thought of Coco now make me think of something more closely related to 8bit, as it could be an audio sample extracted and used from an old Atari game (And though I always seem to go to it, yes it does specifically remind me of "Adventure") And that is just where it ends.
So for a cassette that had a lot going on during Side A it would seem, the flip side seemed a bit more minimal especially with there being only audio clips for most of it. If you think that listening to audio clips is going to be boring or miss the point of being an artist then you need to listen to what CounterRucking does with these and have your mind changed. I wouldn't call it "noise" or "electronic" exclusively, though I also wouldn't put it into some sort of sampled genre. CounterRucking is just finding and exploring a path all its own and it is one I definitely believe you should also go down.