Co-released with Active Measures
This release is the latest from Active Measures, an exciting new netlabel run by Chestnut Tree, and features live shows from KPFT in Houston, Texas. It's loving co-released through SPNet. We find a rich tapestry spun from fine threads of field recordings, electronics, and of course, stories. This is no pretty picture, per se, though, being held together with zip ties and duct tape. I wouldn't go so far as to give this release a genre. It's all over the board. Electronic numbers like "The Sandwich [part 1]" have an almost IDM sort of feel. Other pieces like "Kids" are totally abstract, late night, sleep deprivated stream of consciousness monologues over haunting field recordings and the occasional snippet of recorded dialogue, all deftly mixed in such a way that it somehow works. Other tracks like "Where To Go" eschew putting the words at the forefront and instead blend bursts of static and electric buzzing with far off guitar plucking. "The Recordings" has this simple sampled drum beat that blends with his a raspy whisper from Abramowitz that makes me think of some smoky neo-beatnik club. "Need Help?" can't decide if it's some lofi experimentalism or a hip hop track. Then there's the giddy, hallucinatory tape manipulation of "One By One" which will appeal to fans of Negativland, despite the lack of political content. Most times, though, we find an eerie form of ambient collage. It's a menagerie of different moods and emotions but overall we find here a blurred reality. The sounds themselves are mixed a bit in the back, lulling one into hypnogagia, letting the words take the forefront. They oscillate from subject to subject and you find yourself intoxicating by Mike's smooth voice until you're jarred awake by some line like "I can't put a cloud in my stomache!" I've heard my fair share of spoken word releases before, but never have any been so utterly captivating. You'll never want a sandwich more than after this release, or at least you'll be hungry after the long, strange trip. Highly recommended.