Thursday, July 16, 2015
Cassette Review: Phoned Nil Trio "Milwaukee Architecture: Vol V"
[$7 // https://phonedniltrio.bandcamp.com/album/milwaukee-architecture-vol-v]
Phoned Nil Trio is an actual trio and I'm not sure but this might be one of the first times- if not certainly a rare occurance- where I review something that is the actual number it says that it is. Seeing the word "Trio" at the end of this name made me think right off it was either going to be one person or a hundred people making this music but alas it is three as it promises.
Side A begins with static frequencies and background whirrs. Patterns begin to form like words only I can't tell what they are saying because I'm not entirely certain that they are even words. Whirrs build up into loud screeches, sonar beep drops come in next and then it begins to sound almost like a record scratching in some ways. Through a beeping type of rhythm I can hear R2D2 coming through and then there is static coming through in bursts. I'm not sure why but the way that I hear this static it sounds as if someone is grasping for air, so I begin to imagine that the static is short of breath which of course gives the static life and kind of weirds me out.
The rest of Side A consists of primarily two factors. First there is this electronic sound that sounds like different notes the way that I hear a sound such as running my finger across the needles of my comb. Go ahead, do it. Run your finger across your comb and hear the music. But this doesn't sound like someone is doing that exactly because it has an electronic sound to it so I'm sure if someone like Crank Sturgeon could construct a comb that plugs into an amp and acts as a musical instrument that's what would be going on here but I'm sure it's just some other instruments I am not familiar with yet.
In addition to this there is this distinct sound that I couldn't place at first but later realized sounds like one of those radiation detectors. I know I've seen small ones used that are handheld and look like the metal detectors at airports but these detect radiation and though I know it is in some movie or television show somewhere that I've seen them all I can think of is "The Simpsons" because of the Nuclear Power Plant (though I can't recall a scene from there offhand) and this Imaginext figure my son has that looks like the character played by the dad on "Malcolm in the Middle" on that show that, yes, I've never actually even watched before. (Maybe the first season. It's "Breaking Bad", right?)
On the flip side there is quiet talking to open up and then we go into the sound of a bug zapper. The sounds come through in pieces such as a transmission for an alien radio or simply an aircraft with a poor transmitter and as such it is going down like mayday. Really quiet rumbling lightsabers can be heard if you have your volume turned up loud enough (And it should go without saying but, yeah, headphones should be used on this cassette for optimal experience) and then siren-sharpness comes through like a test of the emergency broadcast system, which I seem to be referencing more but that thing has been bothering me since I was a kid. Has anyone actually ever heard one of those for real? (And lived to tell about it?) I mean, what's the point of telling us we're all going to die anyway?
Dialtone comes out and there is a single laser shot fired. That plugging-into-an-amp sound is coming out next (Which still needs a proper name, what is that instrument anyway??) but it surfaces in waves with this particular rhythm. Static is buzzing and then there is a beep drone with muffled talking behind it. Yes, for the second time on this side there is someone talking but I have no idea what they're saying but I don't think that's really the point anyway. As the crackling comes through so does the sound of a windy day and that is how this cassette ends.
As the title would imply this is at least the fifth cassette by Phoned Nil Trio (And, yes, I checked- there really is four previous parts they're not just messing with us like I would do if I made music. Awman, if I made music you'd all be so screwed...) If you have not heard the four before this I don't feel like it is imperitive to listening to this one, but I would one day like to have them all and listen to them in order to see how it all adds up. But yes, this is some of the best of what they're doing and you should be listening as well. Even if you only ever buy one number at random, you still need to listen to Phoned Nil Trio. You'll likely end up buying them all though.