Thursday, March 15, 2018
Cassette Review: Ducklingmonster "Live Beehive" (dubbed tapes)
Edition of 50 //
One thing you learn when you have kids is that there are a lot of books and other form of media out there which are about ducklings for some reason. Is it because they are so tiny and cute? I do not know. They swim, so I've seen stories where the mother duck has to convince the duckling to not be afraid and swim on its own-- which could be told with birds and leaving the nest but I guess "leaving the nest" is thought of when you're older and moving out and maybe baby birds aren't as "cute" as ducklings? I don't know. I'd still love to build a city sized where I could record a duckling running through it Godzilla-style.
"Live Beehive" opens with this skipping, buzzing rhythm which sounds like that lightbulb is stuck in a glitch loop. The sound can quickly turn to video game glitch but it sounds like Atari, perhaps like the soundtrack to Pong gone awry. Loud space blasts enter the scene now as well. It's like some kind of great space war and then the drums come shaking in. At first, there are vocals which come through and I think they sound damned. Eventually, they come through in loops to the point where you know it's a singular voice being looped but it can sound like a crowd of people talking at once. In this way, it also can become trippy.
Steady drum beats keep the background, which I feel have been made with some sort of electronic programming but sound a lot like a live drum kit. Rapid fire shots come out via feedback and then it drops down lower. There is this grinding guitar sound with the drums as the vocals have abandoned us but they return and that becomes the story of this in a way: it's between the deep, static void, glitching, vocal looping and those drums keeping the beat. Into a solo bit of distortion these deeper tones come out with them that are likely a guitar but have an organ feel to them as well (Mainly because I'm thinking of the original entrance theme for The Undertaker)
This picks back up with the drums and more vocal looping. I'm not sure what is being said and I think it could be open to how you want to hear it but it's something like "radiant eye" though I'm pretty sure it's not. Sort of tribal screams bring back the vocals which alternate on the high and lows (If you're already reading this and got my other wrestling reference, then think of it how fans used to chant "LuCHA luCHA" for the Lucha Dragons in WWE) It's kind of like a yipping now but this is not what the fox says (nor is it what ducklings say).
Maybe it's not "radiant eye" but "ready to die". I'm not sure. If I was ever doing vocal loops like this though I'd just make up nonsense that sounded like actual words without being actual words just to confuse people. But words are seemingly coming through now in a stream where they could be forming sentences-- I think it's "give me my radio" but don't quote me on that. At the end of this, as everything sort of fades off, there comes applause and such because, you know, "*Live* Beehive" and all. This actually brings about a sound after it which sounds like a swarm of bees, oddly enough.
This program repeats on both sides, so that's one way to get around the whole dubbing over existing cassettes I suppose. I realize there are artists out there without labels who dub over existing cassettes and I know also that Illuminated Paths sort of made it famous, but as much as it makes me want to do it I'd feel like I was ripping off Dubbed Tapes. Yet at the same time, I constantly think about how cassettes could be less expensive if you just went to Goodwill and bought them for a dollar or whatever and dubbed over them, so it's an eternal struggle between my guilt and practicality.