Friday, October 21, 2016
Cassette Review: Rod Hamilton and Tiffany Seal "Versatile Ambience" (Ehse Records)
[$7.99 // https://ehserecords.bandcamp.com/album/versatile-ambience]
Some time ago- after reviewing Rod Hamilton cassettes- I purchased some really cool looking cassettes from none other than Rod Hamilton himself via a Facebook group and though they have "church music" on them they can still be easily recorded over and, well, I bought them for how they look-- I will not lie about that. Tiffany Seal sent me an email saying she had music with Rod Hamilton at one point and linked me to a SoundCloud page. I asked if there was ever going to be a physical release- especially on cassette- and this was the response I got some time later.
The first thing which I feel needs to be stated about this cassette is that for the most part, throughout these songs, you will hear what sounds like two musicians playing side by side. My first comparison point was, oddly enough, that scene in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" when Daffy Duck and Donald Duck play the piano against each other, but these sounds do work more in harmony and if you've ever watched "Your Lie In April" (Which I still highly recommend) then you will understand how two musicians can play together so beautifully.
Electronic banjo tones and animal sounds (such as recordings from a zoo) begin this cassette. There is this xylophone trill and then something I didn't catch at first for some reason but later on figured out what possibly a flute. There are pleasant tones, such as if you are floating on clouds, and there are loops as well, as I just find this all to be rather relaxing.
A lot of what happens on Side A can also be found on Side B only the intensity of it all changes. Through banging comes Atari Pong sounds, waves with seagulls to mirror the opening from Side A and ultimately, which only seems fitting, the cassette comes to a close with pianos. (But please note I was thinking of the Daffy/Donald thing before I ever heard these piano keys and for a different reason)
Perhaps my favorite part about this cassette is the style in which it is presented. What I mean by that is you can have something such as these xylophone trill tones playing in loops at the same time that the flute is seemingly coming through in drone waves. While I realize that one person could create those two layers on their own, what you don't realize is that if one person were to create these two pieces and then present them in this way it would not sound the same as this does with two unique voices being presented together. It would be the difference between watching a singles and pair, say, figure skating in the Olympics.