Friday, September 23, 2016
Cassette Review: Fletcher Pratt "Dub Sessions, Volume 3" (Crash Symbols)
[$6 // Edition of 100 // https://crashsymbols.bandcamp.com/album/dub-sessions-volume-3]
When I see the name "Dub Sessions, Volume 3" I think of the Long Beach Dub All-Stars, which is essentially what became of Sublime after Bradley died and before they got that guy Rome in their band. While I expected this cassette to sound somewhat like that, I also remember that "dubbing" is the cassette term for duplicating and so I imagine Fletcher Pratt sitting in his house, recording from one cassette to the next to send out cassettes to various people in what we call "shopping around a demo"-- which probably doesn't happen any more, so I think it's more about the copies being made to give out to friends and fellow music people.
What begins with electronic loops finds synth and talking in a way which reminds me of Peter Frampton and little else, which is always a good thing. While it can become somewhat video game in its nature, it also takes this turn into what could be considered dub as it has this reggae feel complete with the steel drums and all. It slows down to a certain level of chill before ending Side A and I'm left wondering whether or not I just heard an accordion.
On the flip side we have this Indian feel and what I can only describe as heavy breathing. It goes into this dark underwater place to end the first song on Side B. There are some elements of Nirvana now, yet it also has this sense of drama as heavy and serious tones come out. Laser shots are fired as background strings leave us ending not only this particular side but the cassette as a whole in a much darker place.
The thing about this cassette is that it has electronics even to the point of being video game at one point and yet it still dissolves into the darkness. There are such a thing as dark video game sounds- which would be like the Super Mario Bros. theme played in a slower and deeper pitch, but that's not how this one sounds and I like to think of most video game music as being upbeat even if it get serious and feels like you're about to lose another life. The fact that is can start in such a place and end in such a place is truly remarkable.
When reviewing music it is easy to make comparisons with a few artists who generally tend to stay within the same genre on the whole. You have a rock band with some sort of pop elements and you start naming bands like Weezer and Smoking Popes. You get what the press people like to refer to as "RIYL". But with Fletcher Pratt, you could take that "RIYL" idea and apply it to a section of this cassette. And yet, it doesn't sound like a compilation- as it flows perhaps better than any other cassette I've ever heard- but it has that number of artists and even genres which can be heard within it.