Friday, June 10, 2016

Cassette Review: faint glow / Justin Scott Gray "Quantum Ouch" (BIcephalic Records)

[$5 // Edition of 50 //]

"Quantum Ouch" is the last in this split series of cassettes that Bicephalic Records put out and I was fortunate enough to hear them all.   Now, technically, the Chefkirk split was the last as it has the number 026 and this has the number 025, but they came to me together- as most have done through this series- and since I had recognized Faint Glow I decided to listen to this one second, which ended up becoming the last of the Bicephalic split series.

While I knew the name Faint Glow, I felt like I knew it for something more than this split series but as per my review check I've only ever reviewed Faint Glow before as part of this split series.    Funny how things come full circle, right?   I do need to listen to some Faint Glow outside of Bicephalic Records now though, which I will be looking into son enough.

This side begins with loud, echoing synth gongs.   It's a cross between gun shots and fireworks as it just begins to pound through the speakers.    Quieter explosions can be heard as well, as it almost sounds as if it is beginning to fade.    Glassy drone builds, seems to kick into another level, and then just takes us out into space for the end.    It is this great piece of music which just goes from dot dot dot to steady and everything happening in between and within that is what you need to be really paying attention to.

Justin Scott Gray begins the flip side with error drone of some kind.   It's a buzzing and then a guitar cuts in sharply.     Timed beeps take us into sonar blips, but I don't really feel like we're underwater.    It has a sound like a machine and then turns into these 8-bit type loops.   From there, we get into some Nine Inch Nails electronics or perhaps even KMFDM if you will.    Trill drops have that feeling of skipping a stone across a pond but, you know, with bass and reverb.     You've probably read those words before- "trill" and "reverb"- but you have not heard them like this.

When the end of this split cassette comes, I don't just feel like it has ended in the sense of two artists creating two different pieces of music but perhaps with similar elements (using the same tools to create a different result, if you will) but I also know that this split series is over on the whole and it's kind of sad because I really like split cassettes and this series from Bicephalic Records has really exposed me (and hopefully you as well) to a lot of great artists I have not heard before.

I am not sure whether there will be a grand box set with all of the cassettes from this split series in it or not.    If there is, then it could be your best chance to hear all of these splits from Bicephalic Records if you are, for some reason, just tuning in now.    If you've been following along from the start though, you will likely already have all of these cassettes and for the sake of being a completionist you will add "Quantum Ouch" to your collection but it is so very much worth listening to even if by itself.

Perhaps that is the story this split series will tell in the years to come: when they all come together, yes, you will find a great collection of music.   But even if you just listen to one or two, maybe years from now you manage to get your hands on one from some second hand site, and it will still be as powerful as if you had the entire set.    It reminds me of Demonstration Synthesis in that way because I simply cannot keep up with all of those cassettes but even just listening to a few here and there at random is truly satisfying.

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