Thursday, July 16, 2015

Cassette Review: Roadside Picnic "Soft Dipped Crystals" (New Village Tapes)

[$6 // Edition of 50 //]

I don't know how many Roadside Picnic cassettes I've listened to in my time.   I think I've even listened to some digital files that weren't available on cassette or maybe the cassettes were sold out.   If I look under the Cassette Reviews page for "R" it won't show them all because I'm pretty sure I've heard at least one cassette under his real name and then sometimes if he's part of a split or collaboration this name might not come first.   Sure, I could use my blog search and figure it out (Or look at my cassette collection) but I'd really prefer not to know how many cassettes I've listened to by Roadside Picnic.   I just know it has been quite possibly more than any other artist with only one possible exception to that.    So when I put this cassette on and pressed play, I had to make sure that I was listening to Roadside Picnic.

"Soft Dipped Crystals" begins with strings being strummed- maybe guitars, maybe not- and then space whirrs come in as well.   There is uplifting synth, a drum machine and overall this begins to sound new wave to me.   I've heard Roadside Picnic sort of hint on this type of music before, but I've never heard it this full blown before.   There is this symphonic feel in here and it reminds me of the Collective Soul song "The World That I Know" (may not be the actual title, but you get the general idea)  Somehow this also sounds like the type of music I'd imagine they'd play at weddings, even though there are industrial beats.   Think about it.  I have cassettes by Roadside Picnic that would be highly inappropriate to play in a formal setting such as a wedding, and then you have this and it just boggles my mind.

Nine Inch Nails/Marilyn Manson type darkness comes out next and there are strong drum machine beats as I put this into a genre of dark synth (So probably darkwave).   There is a certain sense of this being the soundtrack to a video game menu screen or just some modern video game in general though for me to paint you a picture as to what kind of game that would be is out of my comprehension at this time.     Sounds come through next that seem like singing but likely aren't and this is just so pretty.     It's growing tragic, fades in and out and the side comes to a big glorious finish.  Wow.

On the flip side we begin with either a crackling sound of some sort or possibly water dripping.   I feel like it's water dripping and I'm down in the sewer.   Imagine if "The Crow" soundtrack was applied to the Ninja Turtles.   Back and forth strings bring me back to that symphony feel once again.    Through starts and stops the water sound stays steady so I am almost inclined to believe that this has that orchestral feel to it but isn't taking place in some fancy hall where tickets are way too much per seat.

As it grows softer it gets steady.   It goes back to the sound from the beginning of this side.   Notes (or tones?) come through in loops and there is a distinct doo-do-do string pattern on what I will wildly guess is a cello.    Waves come through crashing, but not so much like the ocean or related to that water dripping that kept presenting itself but it still feels as if this side was connected by water in some way or another.

If you've never heard Roadside Picnic before and this is your first exposure to the music then I would say that going from here to listening to previous releases might be a bit of a jump for your musical structure mind.   For me, this is in a lot of ways a slap to the face of all of those people out there who think that "noise" isn't real music and that it is so easy to make and the people who make it have no actual musical talent.    You want musical talent?   This cassette is oozing with it.  But you know what?  Even if this was the first cassette ever released by Roadside Picnic- the first piece of music ever crafted by him- it's still just a remarkable work of genius no matter how hard it might smack the naysayers in their face.

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