Friday, October 13, 2017

Cassette Review: Desert Center "You, Unfamiliar" (Personal Archives)

Someone recently sent me a promotional email saying that when they get sad they go to the desert to reflect only they spelled it "dessert".     So, naturally, I wrote them back and kind of poked fun at that idea, but you know, when you're sad you can certainly eat an entire container of ice cream so who am I to say that it wasn't the intended use of the word?   I actually really liked that music video I watched and kind of now feel like I'm blacklisted by that artists for correcting the grammar.    It's just one of those things where I wish I was doing an interview and they're likely all butt hurt.   So is life.

When this begins with the drums I kind of expect it to turn into a sort of rock n roll.   I don't have any specific band in mind, but I do anticipate those guitars coming in and even maybe lyrics being added over it all.    Throughout all of this, that feeling constantly remains-- that at any moment it could turn into such a venture.   It's not like artists don't begin albums with instrumental numbers.   Guitar notes slowly come into the drumming and then it gets... not static-y, but these loud bursts come through as well.   It does this quiet/loud back and forth sound for a bit.

Most of Side A though revolves around percussion.    It's not just that it sounds like it should backing a band, but later on it turns into something like drumcore, like you'd hear in a marching band.   It's just so powerful.    Drone tones can be found in here, which brings out some guitar notes and possibly bass as well.   It has this feeling like sludge but then the notes can sound like stars, which I can't fully explain.    It feels like a stripped down version of a grunge band or someone from that "alternative rock" era and I really enjoy how it drones its way to the end of the piece.

On the flip side, things begin quieter, slower and it takes on this bit of a Transformers sound.   Cymbals begin to swirl in with it all.    It then becomes sad, almost with a helicopter feel, before strings comes out (perhaps a cello?) and it takes on a classical feel.   It begins to bang as if someone is knocking on something and then guitar riffs come through pretty clearly, which I enjoy.    The transition from what I think of as those sad classical strings to guitar riff is really flawless, though I must note that the guitar riffs might not really be guitars at all.

It then gets quiet and goes back down to that place where this side started.     Deep, sort of darkness comes out with minimal percussion but it mostly feels either sad or at peace.    The sounds kind of float around for a bit, but then the guitars seem to find their way as the percussion returns and this full on has a rock sound to it.    It's not like the sound from Side A either-- it's got a different sort of rock feel to it.   It is somehow more complete, but that isn't to say that the previous sounds left anything to be desired.     The drums take us to the end of the cassette and I feel that's only fitting.

Throughout the cassette, it's a nice mix of percussion and other sounds- to where it gets psychedelic even- but the drums are still what you might remember most about this one and that is not at all a bad thing.     I like to think- and I think a lot of other people share this belief- that the guitar is often the leader of the band.    But, somehow, Desert Center has made the drums feel like that focal point and I don't mean that they put the drummer on a little stage and pushed him to the front-- I mean this just feels like inverted version of other bands in a lot of ways and that also makes it special.

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