Thursday, July 30, 2015

Cassette Review: Bird People / Waterflower (Liminal Noise Tapes)

[£5 // Edition of 50 //]

Bird People gets things started off quietly with dings that sound like something is tapping metal to glass but it also drops like a beat somehow.   A bit of wavy feedback can be heard ever so slightly as distorted static comes through as well.   The first sounds begin to form into larger sounds of church bells now.   The tones drop most seriously.    Noises can slightly be heard in the background and then there is this almost scraping feel amongst the synth.   Banging can be heard, but as if it is in the distance, and it has that pots and pans feel only on a smaller scale.   Some sharpness works its way to the front of the line and can be heard over most everything else.   It's that sound somewhere between a glass bottle rolling on concrete and some kind of rusty metal being manipulated somehow as well.    The sounds of church continue as the sharpness comes back a little bit.    The ring can even ring as if to signify the start of the fight.

All of the dings begin to form a pattern, a rhythm and the backing sounds a bit hollow as if we are in a place which echoes greatly.   This isn't really as loud and clanking as you might think so I want to think of it as being minimal in some ways.   I can hear this sharpness and it makes a sound sometimes only heard within my ears.    A rumbling can be heard in the background and giant footsteps also seem to be coming on stronger.   A little buzz hum comes out like an insect at first but now has more of an accordian feel to it for sure.   It feels like we're about to dive into some sea shanty of a song, and yet I still feel like we are trapped inside some large, damp, empty basement somewhere.

As the tones like the accordian play many cymbals also crash along with them.    The cymbals begin to rattle and crash as it just builds into a big, thundering storm of sound now.     Hollow shots begin to come out in the background now as some of the rage of the storm seems to be settling down.    As the accordian continues to play I think perhaps we are trapped in the underbelly of a ship or worse perhaps even in the belly of a whale.    I feel like there are some string instruments playing now as a lot of bass is coming out and it could be the result of a cello, though there are also higher strings now which I may or may not be confusing with the accordion.   Banjo strings can be heard as being plucked now.   There is an old radio inside a diner feel to this as well.

Chords begin to pick things up but they sound like they're on the banjo and I'm not really sure whether they're folk or some kind of coal-mining song... It's an interesting melody for sure.   It has this western/Johnny Cash feel to it as a sound such as sand shifting can be found behind it for a moment.    Some elements of this could also be Oriental, especially as I hear the gong sound, but I stand by my earlier idea more to the point.    Cymbal crashes return and then the banjo begins churning out the notes as well as the chords.    It is certainly some kind of pretty song on a loop even if I don't have a direct genre for it.   This all comes to a head in what I believe to be the end of the first track.

A buzzing such as a bee comes up now, though it is probably one of the earlier stringed instruments being played a certain way.   It sounds like a violin is coming through now as well, as this is mostly just these strings being played with bows and generating various sounds.   A bit of "Jaws" can be heard building up within it as well.    Sometimes the strings can sound as if they are playing together while at other times they can sound as if they are pitted against one another.   It makes for an overall interesting sound as it is what I would only be able to refer to as an inverted symphony.    A sound comes through now that isn't really sharp or harsh in the traditional sense, but it does have a certain impact on your ears that might make you go "ouch".

On the flip side Waterflower opens things up with tones that remind me of the X-Files and then ambient ohms and ahhh's come out as well.   Piano pieces are seem to be what drives this music and it sounds quite lovely.    As the piano pieces begin playing back and forth with the ghosts behind them I can't help but think of this sounding like Gary Jules or The Cancer Conspiracy and it has immediately captivated me.    The music sounds very calm and relaxing and while I like to think of such things as being ideal soundtracks for a day spa (which is something I've never been to) I like to think of them more as being music for swimming alone which is something you are *NOT* supposed to do but I have done.

Church bells come out next- or perhaps just bells in general.   Their ringing and dinging is the only sound other than vocals.   The singing comes out by itself at first but finds itself layered after a little while.   It's quite an interesting combination for these vocals to be delivered in such a way with only the sounds of bells otherwise but it does make for a rather amazing song.     A song such as this makes me wonder why so many other artists use so many sounds and cannot create a feeling this big.
Some quieter static comes out next and the vocals remain.    While the vocals can be almost hypnotic at times the way the softer music flows with them can only make me think of Enya, though there are sometimes these small static booms that definitely don't have it sounding exactly the same.    The vocals can begin to grow sadder, desperate even and it takes on an entirely new sound not just for this cassette but perhaps for music in general.     The way it tends to sound with the vocals and whirrs is if someone took a song with a standard style to it and then mixed it up-- kind of swirled it around-- only I do believe this is simply the way it is being delivered to us by Waterflower and that hasn't actually been done to it though it might seem as such.

The next song has vocals singing and speaking with dreamy bliss backing them up.    There are these grinding sounds coming out here and there but this feels like a pop song on some level or also something perhaps Heavy Boots might have made.    The lyrics seem to be about being different and as the word is being spelled out for me on the cassette it is all I can think of in my head now, no matter what else I might try to type.      This is followed by a song with less traditional song structures but the vocals coming through still.     There should be a comparison for this in some way, as beeps come through at varying levels, but I just cannot think of one and that's never a bad thing.    I can also pick up on some radio frequency sounds which could be R2D2 just as well and then laughter within the lyrics.

For two rather different artists this is one amazing cassette that you should be listening to because if you enjoy one side no matter how differently the other side may sound it still is something you should hopefully be able to appreciate and fall in love with the same way that I have.

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