This is a sleepy tape very well suited for listenings deep into the night-time hours, 2-3 a.m. I’d say. There is a significant distance between the listener and the music, and the gap is filled with a soft nostalgic tape fizz which compliments the warbling aesthetics and moods of the pieces. Most of the pieces are given a backbone of a loop that sounds like it was pulled from an old tape, or something that was created and then played onto an old tape to produce the aforementioned tape fizz distance. Maybe this is just an artifact of the dubbing, and not a conscious choice by the artist. Maybe the artifacts of the dubbing are a conscious choice by the artist. Maybe nobody cares. Maybe I don’t care. It enhances the music for me and I enjoy it. The loops are crushed under a fog of degradation – genuine or fabricated – they are just a bit off from being perfectly in time or symmetrical, which is vaguely reminiscent, to me, of some of Zoviet France’s music. The music Venn Rain has put on this release is of course much different. Though there’s a thick atmosphere of nostalgia, it somehow sounds very current to me. The synthesizers used have a special muffled warmth. I’m actually not entirely sure that all of the tones are from synthesizers – the tonality might sometimes just be part of the loops. Either way, it sounds warm and to me evokes an urban landscape, and/or thoughts of fast urban life, massive human population, and high speed information exchange. I think it’s just the way the music is composed – the tonalities and the feel of the loops, that associates the music with urban environments and experiences. The delivery is unpretentious and direct, with not a lot going on over the top of the foundational loops (when used) and beds of synthesizers. Little to no tweaking or knob turning is detectable. The strength all centers around the moods evoked by the gentle clunky loops and repeating chord patterns. This is very much a simple pleasure and one to be picking from the shelf for a listen on a regular basis.
This is it. The one you wait for.
Regardless of how many of these cassettes you get sent to your house directly from the label (who is usually also the artist), they’re always good, quality sounds because they’re wholly unique, like slices of an individual psyche preserved on magnetic tape for closer examination. Thus, you’ve grown to fancy yourself a discriminate culturateur who can appreciate what is impossible to categorize. Admittedly, though, most of the time it’s not necessarily the aesthetics found within these ever-so-personal audio experiments that make them worthwhile. No–for me anyway–it’s usually more academic. Maybe it’s the socio-economic implications of the noise that comes careening into my overpriced headphones that makes them interesting. Something about those sounds and the way their arranged, seems to imply something about the subconscious, or society, or the cosmos . . . or something.
And this is fine. Because eventually, every once in a while–without even realizing it until you hear it–you come across it. The one you’ve been waiting for. The one whose twists and turns you can somehow anticipate almost as if you have traversed down a similar path at some point and you are now recalling the journey in vivid aural fashion. The one that seems singular somehow, as if set apart because not only is it a slice of an individual psyche, but it is a rather fascinating slice that speaks to you, or even gives voice to your own compatible ideas, when many other simply blurt at you in an interesting, but incomprehensibly foreign tongue. This is the one that gives you pause because it reminds you of what you were originally in search of when you began this strange postmodern hunting expedition. It’s not only sonically interesting in an academic manner, but it is aesthetically affirming.
Still unclear on what exactly it is? Well, if it were something expressible in written language than you have indeed been tracking the wrong prey. But you haven’t been. In fact, it takes a cassette like Venn Rain’s Bioharmonics. A simple little cassette that reminds you only through sonic exploration can a particularly deep emotion, idea, or memory, or something be stirred awake to consult even if it’s only for a brief moment. And of course not all sound-fueled journeys can penetrate into that submerged reservoir where those emotions, ideas, or memories settle like caked levels of earth. Some come close, while others merely skim the surface. But it’s not until it arrives. The one you wait for. The one that–for whatever inexplicable reason–does the job on you.
In this case, maybe its the hypnotic drums coursing underneath heavy
layers of analog synths on “Marble Mist,” or the strangely sampled spatial
arrangements explored on both “Flow Motion” and “The History of Things,”
or the blissfully looped submission of “Phosphene Scene.” Regardless, this
is one of those rare cassettes that just has something that pulls you in
deeper than you normally go. It may not do it for anyone else, the way
their favorite cassette falls flat on you, but it doesn’t matter. Because
it has been found and this strange foraging urge that our Neolithic
ancestors expressed through the hunt has been briefly satiated and
ultimately renewed so that the search for the next it can begin.
In the meantime, Biohramonics–the latest in a long line of its
from Buffalo-based label
Alchemy–gets a reserved parking spot on your cassette rack so that you
can reach for it quickly in times of need when you require a reminder of
what the hell it is all about.