Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cassette Review: THE MINOTAUR [Sister Grotto & OHDO] (Tinyamp Records)

[$6 // Edition of 100 // https://tinyamprecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-minotaur]

The outside of this cassette says only "The Minotaur" with a line struck through it, so up until I listened to it for the first time that was what I knew it as.    Then of course once I actually looked at the linear notes all that changed as this is actually a split cassette between Sister Grotto and OHDO.   Furthermore, the linear notes then state that Sister Grotto is Madeline Johnston and additional noises on Side A are made by Reighnbeau.  

When I saw Reighnbeau I was obviously even more intrigued but the name Madeline Johnston just seemed familiar to me and not just because she was the one who emailed me back about Tinyamp Records.    A quick search of Discogs shows that Madeline Johnston is Sister Grotto on this split, true, but she also released a cassette on Bridgetown under the name Mariposa, which I happened to have reviewed and enjoyed quite a bit.    Sometimes I think the ideas of all-star team ups are overhyped, but this seems only right because it's two of my favorite musicians coming together and quite frankly I knew it was neither one of them before I pressed play.

Sister Grotto, the name I will use on this cassette, is that ambient sound with some FNL mixed in.  It is soft and soothing, yet as much as you could curl up in a small room with it and relax it could just as easily fill and empower a giant stadium.     Though I think the notion of a stadium might be misleading as this has more of a wide open spaces feel to it, such as endless field.    Vocals make their presence but it is more a singing of melodies rather than actual words.

OHDO has a sound similar to that of Sister Grotto and in that way these two sides do compliment each other well.   It begins with bongos and ohm-like chants as vocals but then continues on in a guitar driven sense that just doesn't really loops but rather progresses through patterns such as a scale structure.     There are certain spatial qualities within these carefully dedicated guitar notes as well and it leaves a lot of atmosphere just creating a general vibe that is somewhere between relaxing and head-bobbing.

In terms of splits this one is of the type that the two artists are both similar enough to belong together yet not so similar as to be mistaken for each other.   I would obviously now like to know more about OHDO (Which I always read as "Oh do go on", which would be funny if there was such an artist as "OHDO GOON") but the fact that I'm slowly building my Madeline Johnston collection without even knowing it perhaps makes me that much happier.

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