REVIVER “Total Load Shed” CS (Temple of Pei, 2008)
Despite being from CT, while I was there I was never able to stumble upon the clandestine yet articulate New England noise project, REVIVER, aka Chris Donofrio. OK we pop the tape in; WOAH, have to say this is some of the more interesting and well articulated “drone” ish? releases I have heard in a while, although to just call it drone would oversimplify a style which goes, at times, beyond the structure and pacing of what we think of as “drone”. The tape starts with a low rumble of buzzing broken boat engines sputtering in the dark, creeping with a pulsing drive, REVIVER takes the listener on a tour of desolate landscapes, barren buldings, and crumbling consciousness. The simplicity of this release makes it approachable to fans of music outside of the traditional noise “genre” yet dynamic and textured enough to hold the interest of those who can no longer take the quick melodic shifts and westernized structures that pop pushes-THE “NOISEHEADS”. The changes in tone and pulse are slow but they are PRESENT. This is not just wall drone, where the sound may be unchanging (or perceptively so) for 20 minutes, rather it’s modulations shift just when your wondering if your tape player is caught in a loop (NOT possible) This could easily be taken out of the realm of “noise”or “drone” music and be placed as a soundtrack to a yet to be made film, or a live score. Don’t have any real evidence to support this, but it breathes a pacing that would map well onto an abstract film architecture; it’s well balanced. This cinematic edge lies in REVIVER’s progressions and spacial awareness. Not to me, but I could see how some might dismiss this release as “synth noddling” or “droning” but WAIT, this is made using ONLY GRAPHIC EQ’s ?!?!?! In some sort of feedback loop or something? regardless, in my opinion it just makes this release that much more interesting.WHAT? Couldn’t be, so I wrote the artist and he confirmed that he proudly uses ONLY graphic EQ’sas the sound source. So simple, yet so elegant, and yet still conceptually interesting. Not totally integral to listening experience, but listening to it again, after knowing the sound source, gave it a new breath of complexity. The A side starts out solid and ends solid, with three or four different movements in between, all varying tones and explorations with similar pacing.
The B side picks up right where the A side left off with low crawling squarewave pulses, a grey modulating din of tonal patches stitched together with decrying buzzing, humming, hammering, and hills and hills of psychotropic pillars of color and timbre. Sometimes sinister, and sometimes soothing, Reviver accomplishes much with little in terms of controls, though it’s quite clear he has some control of the machines that he’s working with, grabbing distant radio blips of distorted transmissions.
The A side overall is a bit more solid, spaces on the B side tend to be a little underdeveloped compared to the former, but it’s quite cohesive overall, and the recording quality is good/consistant throughout, so it seems it was all done with a similar process? Nice full color artwork in one of those semi transparent plastic “jewel cases” for cassettes, which for some reason, I CANNOT FUCKING STAND, I feel it would look alot slicker in a regular norelco box, but then again i think 99/100 cassettes that come packaged in those would look better, so it’s just my own shitty bias. but that would basically be my main criticism, which is null at best, so a great release overall.
Overall : 8.1/13
Written By: malo 3/5/12