Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Cassette Review //
Machester Bulge
"2001 - 2012 Retrospective"
(Black Ring Rituals Records)

$15 //
Edition of 50 //
https://blackringrituals.bandcamp.com/album/2001-2012-retrospective //

This opens with a bit of darkness, it's sharp and there are slight ticks behind it.   When it has its quieter moments it can sound serious, thoughtful.   But then when it kicks into something louder it's really just blowing out the speakers.    As the sharpness shines through, this could be thought of as brooding.    Dark scrapes come through now, which kind of sound like gunshots as there are also these softer alien whirrs in here.   Loud blares make me think of truck horns and yet they also seem to feel like something out of Black Sabbath just the same.

An eerie calm rolls through now.   A minimal drone.  Brief chirping, like a cricket, though there has been one living outside my window for a few weeks now.    This is not exactly the sound of squealing brakes, but it does make me think we are headed into a car crash.    It also resonates through, in waves.    Into more serious synth tones now, like a doctor show.    It then switches up to guitar notes which are more like post rock, FNL, and there are these sounds like birds within them as well. 

A sort of scraping sound comes through with static and it really makes me think that perhaps this is laughing somehow.   There does exist a tribal beat to it though, a jungle rhythm within the whooshes.    Other electronics come in which I cannot quite describe and there is this ringing as well, it gets sharp to where it might hurt your ears.    Ascending and descending now, the sound molds and shapes itself into what brings about those sounds of terror with suspense, something out of a Hitchcock movie for sure.

Whirrs come through like frequencies changing and then some notes come through like stabbing.    Beeps now appear in this void of sound which is distortion laced with a slight bit of harsh reality.    There is an undeniable mechanical sound to this all.    It's that combination of technology meets the good old fashioned grind.    Back and forth beeps now make me feel like we are floating out on the sea.   I can hear something revving up, a lawnmower perhaps.    This leads into what sounds like horns both playing a few notes and then beeping almost in error before the first part comes to an end. 


On the next side you can hear some talking to start the second piece and then there is what sounds like rapid fire gunshots and it's quite the ruckus.    Sounds of sirens.   Sounds of scraping.   It grinds like a trash compactor and then there are primal screams.    It builds now, like something sort of sawing on something else, the screams still here and there.   It skips around as it feels like we're going through a tunnel.   Pianos come out with the screams now and it feels like we're being sucked into a void of lost souls.   This is something that I imagine seeing performed live would be terrifying and not just because there is a haunted sense to it.

We chug along like a locomotive as bursts of static come through.   While I cannot describe what is happening here, it does not sound positive in the sense that it could be the sounds of someone being set on fire.    The screams now form words as sonic blasts enter the fray.    Somehow, it all calmly comes to a close as we then hear what sounds like the squeaking of bed springs combined with a banging, but not of a drum.  It feels like someone is banging on the body of an acoustic guitar, kind of knocking on it.   There are also what sound like dark piano chords in here as well.

A trumpet (I believe) blares through now.   A long and winding sense.   The sound of two knives scraping against each other now.    The sawing becomes more apparent as the banging grows more intense and the horn blares along with it in one infinitely loud gesture.   It sort of trickles on from here, a rattling.   Tones come through now which sound like guitars and they're all distorted and trippy like something out of Jimi Hendrix.    There is a strong ringing, a resonation, as vocals come through behind it all in a spaceship transmission type of way.  I'm reminded of the film "2001" for some reason. 

Someone speaks, as if in an audio clip being manipulated, and then there's that whole feeling of racecars driving around a track as the speakers shake at times and other times it grows a bit quieter.   Now it clearly says "Every time we step in and pick up their pieces for them we destroy them" and I can't help but feel that on a global level right now.   Error codes like skipping and beeps come through as well.   And now she wants us to give something to our dad as a Christmas present.    Still, that distortion rings through in waves.   It's odd how this can feel somewhat like we're moving through space but also at the same time like someone is doing lawn work (trimming the hedges, etc)


A quiet violin softly begins the third movement on this cassette set.   It builds with that classical sound of strings now.    There is some scraping and some banging of pots in here as well.   The sense that a flute is playing in a busy kitchen is something you could get but I just feel like as the violin grows lighter it has that flute feel but is still not a flute.    There is also an air of suspense in here, a bit of tension.   Now it seems as if we are riding up and down on a carousel.    Sounds now as if things are breaking, being dropped, and the sense that a violin is playing at the table to soothe the commotion in the kitchen is one I could buy into easily enough. 

We get a little bit sharp now with this as well.    There is a much stronger sense of banging now as the violin plays its sad song.   The winds of the soft violin coupled with the disturbance of the banging creates such a beautiful chaos.   It gets really sharp and then feels like we've fallen down a trippy hole as the violin begins to pierce through the noise.  The feeling now is one of danger.   Magical swirls are caught in this void.    A loud grinding now, like a garbage disposal, and then it feels as if we're flying through the air, floating on clouds.   Whirrs begin to shake in waves.

Darkness now, submerged underwater it would seem as bangs indicate we are being fired upon.   There is this tone that blares through like a siren song which is only fitting.   Beeps like the sonar tracking.   It really also begins to feel as if earlier we were above the water, on a vessel of some sort, and we were sinking.  Now we are underwater not as a submarine but as a sunken wreck, trying to fight our way back to the surface.   If no one is coming to save us, we must save ourselves.    We somehow sink even further now and the grinding turns to whirrs which may or may not be able to help us.

The whirrs turn into almost howls and it grows somewhat scary, eerie in a way but also it has this alien sense to it, which is strange since I thought we were below the surface.   Tones alternate back and forth and this could be the violin again, coming back but in a different way.   Lasers give off a definite space vibe and it feels like we're climbing.   Back we go, deep into the static void.   We seem to be playing the soundtrack to our own demise now, as it's like that scene in "The Simpsons" (the movie) where Green Day does something similar, and yet it can also just as easily sound like a bit of madness out of a Hitchcock score.  


The flip side of the second cassette seems to open with this darkness but there are whirrs in here which make it also feel alien.   Laser shots and beeps bring about the feels of a spaceship.   It definitely feels like we're in an alien invasion while this one sound which could be the buzzing or hum of an insect persists as well through it all.  The beeps grow into whirrs and there is a definite sharpness through this.   Sonar now.    Beeps drone and slightly change course as we get into this somewhat robotic symphony.   This gets more bass into it and then static skips make it feel a sense of urgency.   A deep, dark drone resides underneath all of this.   It's hard to make out what type of monster this is, but it is certainly one you would not want to awaken.

Sounds of screams come through the drone.  The music has this pained sound to it, as if it is being tortured.   Is that even possible?  I know music can be used to torture people (Sorry, Cardi B) but can music itself feel tortured?  Can music be an entity unto itself to the point where it begins to display its own emotions?  I don't see why not.   We certainly have people in this world who... Let's just say there are some guitars I'd elect President over some people (Sorry again, Cardi B)  Somehow though, this really has this deep space drone througout it and yet it has these other elements which add complexity.   It's one of the most complicated pieces of drone I've ever heard because, sure, you could write it off as being drone on some level but it would be doing it a disservice.

It does feel like some sort of glitch, some sort of machine just really sinking its teeth in and blasting through despite these other whirrs and frequencies coming through with it.   This creates a dark buzz like something you might hear from an electric clipper but more likely is some sort of instrument like an oboe just belting it out.    It becomes violent now, but not in a powerful way, rather an unspoken way.  It seems to lay waste to everything around it, this ray of noise set off in the desert like an atomic bomb.   There are some notes that go an octave higher and then lower, but it seems to just maintain that blast power where nothing is going to survive.   It just seems to kind of trail off like we rode into the sunset.


Darker bell tones ring through hollow with bursts of static shattering like debris.   It creates this certain feel to it where the static almost sounds like a typewriter or gunfire but I really think of it more as being an electric cattle prod.    Those tones swirl in and out.    Static which sounds more like a modem now comes glitching through.    Partly this feels like it's underwater but mostly it just feels like space because it has that alien vibe to it all around.   The ringing reverberates and then a sharp tone comes out now.   It changes sharpness and it feels like something is brewing.

This begins to feel like the dawn of robotics as beeps come through in sequences as well.    There is this sense of a horror movie to this, but a horror movie about robots-- Wall-E gone terribly wrong.   Through more static comes some talking, which is about talking into the microphone and whether or not they're filming it.   A sharp drone comes through now.   Voices can still be heard in the background.   It comes through squeaky now, but it's still that sharpness and there is a deeper drone behind it.   Ultimately, it dives down into just that deeper drone and then begins to pick back up with electronic scraping.

The sharpness returns and it feels like a tea pot whistling but more closer to a guitar-- if there was a guitar setting or effect pedal to create a similar sound I'd say it was being used here.    As it drives along it seems to pick up some steam but also dragging something rusty.   It's that scraping aspect of it still mixed with the sharpness.   Everything grows quieter now, which is interesting because it's not that the intensity has lessened really it's more like the levels have just been turned down.   Then a sound like a bugzapper also comes through to take this to an even deeper, darker place.

As it begins to feel like it's revving up now it also then begins to feel as if the engine is stalling as well.   Though I first thought of this as being an automobile, when I think back to how the piece started and after listening to it more than once, you get more of a sense that this is actually the engine of a spaceship.   As the sounds begin to fade and turn into drones, it just feels like the ship is left floating, endlessly through space.   A ringing tone now which I think I know how to make on my keyboard but don't remember and it sounds a bit like a song you might play at a funeral. 

It does also pick up into this "Lost In Space" type of sound as well.   Sharpness then comes through with some choppy tones which make it almost sound like someone is trying to communicate with words.   There are frequencies coming through as well and I just think of this as being a transmission from that spaceship which is now, if you'll pardon the term, lost in term.   Static also comes crashing through, as you can feel that sense of the system shutting down, crashing, as it transmits its final message.


Louder, deeper drones enter with ringing.  It stops as if to send out one bass note at a time.   It feels like words are being spoken and as frequencies change it becomes somewhat trippy.   Those bass notes chime through like gongs as screeches halt like the burning rubber of tires.   The tones change, as if doing slowed down scales, and it has a video game sense to it here as well, but more like Atari than anything else.   Perspective is always such a funny thing because when you listen to these lighter sounds they echo like seagulls on a beach so it makes the deeper notes sound as if they're coming from a ship at sea.   I'm not sure why it makes *me* think of the ocean but others might not hear it quite the same and that's, obviously, one of the big things I love about music.

This rings out a bit more now, as it begins to sound like voices but it's also got some beeps and whirrs as well.   It takes on that robotic feeling like it did on the reverse side of this cassette.   We get minimal now, as everything kind of quiets down and then it picks up with some whirrs but mostly it remains a little bit like feedback and a slowly charged race.   Static crackles behind sonar now.   These tones swirl all around like a pinball game and the static chugs along with it.   It can almost put you in this hypnotic trance as it also has this laser light show vibe going on.

It's funny how things can keep a steady pace and so it feels like droning but it's not really making a singular sound.   These slightly sharp hums come through in verying tones while that steady rhythm is behind them and this goes on for a bit like this, so it's kind of a form of drone I suppose.   But then if you made a song that just repeated the same loop over and over would it be drone?  I don't know.  Maybe it's just looping.   Maybe it's not really drone since it's not singular.   As it dies down it feels as if we fall off the face of the earth and somehow that is how this whole thing comes to an end which only seems fitting because how else would you want to go out?

No comments:

Post a Comment