Monday, March 14, 2016
Cassette Review: hicksoncompactgroup "Transit Observations"
[$2 // Edition of 10 // https://hicksoncompactgroup.bandcamp.com/album/transit-observations]
As much as people want to complain about Bandcamp (And I got an email recently from someone creating their own music platform because they don't like Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Reverbnation, Pure Volume, etc.) it is nice that they send me an email to notify me every time an artist that I choose to "follow" releases new music. It can often lead to a lot of emails in one day but whenever I do get the notifications I tend to open up the link because if it's not a physical release I do like to spend the time streaming it.
It felt like a while since the last hicksoncompactgroup cassette and so when I saw this pop up in my inbox I was rather excited. These cassettes run $2 shipped in editions of 10 so I know they're going to sell out quickly and being able to have that Bandcamp helping hand makes it that much easier because I'm not on Bandcamp searching for new cassettes as much as I once was. (Truth be told it became a bit overwhelming but I am slowly trying to ease myself back into it now) This is the sixth cassette I've heard from hicksoncompactgroup and that doesn't include a CD and a digital only release as well. By this point you think that I'd feel like I've heard it all from hicksoncompactgroup but I really haven't.
"Transit Observations" begins with dark strings and there is this certain space ambient sound to it. I feel like we're taking a trip into a dark void of isolation and that's somewhat familiar with hicksoncompactgroup, as the music tends to be set in space, but this one does have a distinct feel to it still. FNL notes make their way through in a muted way, as they are presented more in the background than at the front and then it turns into a static drone. This brings us to space whooshes and a trembling sort of wah sound before a video game drone takes us to the end of Side A.
Though that may have felt somewhat familiar, Side B takes us into uncharted lands with the opening of cymbals and a general percussion feel. For whatever reason I feel as if we are in a hallway as I can hear footsteps and I can only picture a music room in a school with the door open, capturing both the sound inside of it and outside. Acoustic darkness has a marching feel to it before some soft tones come out in the form of strings plucked. This begins to shift us away from the previous field recording sound.
Winding desert type notes come out within drone and then there is this chirping, though it remains chill and acoustic. A rambling, crashing sound brings about something quieter and I cannot quite place where this is coming from. On one hand, it would be easy to simply think of Side A as the floating through space by yourself until Side B has you landing on an uninhabited planet. This gives you that double feeling of being alone because you knew you were alone in space but you hoped that maybe on this planet, which you were so pleased to find, that there might be some signs of life.
Yet at the same time, these chirping sounds remind me of a certain area you can go to at the zoo, with different birds and small animals inside where it's usually pretty hot as they seem to be found in either desert or jungle type conditions. I can imagine a foreign planet as being desert-like but to paint it in a jungle theme is something new to me. Regardless, this cassette should have your mind active on many adventures and for that it is certainly worth taking the ride.