DECAYCAST Reviews: Proud/Father “Symbolic Exchange & Emptiness” (Orb Tapes, 2018)

DECAYCAST Reviews: Proud/Father “Symbolic Exchange & Emptiness” (Orb Tapes, 2018)

Proud/Father creates a tense, murky unsettling of ambient din on the A side of their newest album, “Symbolic Exchange & Emptiness”  on PA’s ORB TAPES. The side begins with a slow, gentle pulsing ambient tone which slowly evolves over time into washed out, thick waves of  sonic fog.  “The first side is a reflection of isolation, both physical and emotional, from depression and similar mental health disorders. ” quotes the releases bandcamp page, and the  subtle, harmonic shifts seem to oscillate moods  ever  so slightly without ever  jarring the  listener out of a meditative, hypnotic state. Several layers of drone eventually give birth to lush, washed out, undulating vocal tones, or are they even? Proud/Father seamlessly blends multiple sources into a singular harmonious, but still unsettling buzzing, like the buzzing inside your body when anxiously awaiting a phone call where every second seems like an eternity and every far away sound oscillates as a precursor to something your unsure about and  you can’t place  your brain on why. P/F has mastered keeping us in a sonic stasis, whilst their  shifting tones  dance around an aura of confusion, with even a dab of resolve.

The B side Al alejarme de casa recuerdos débiles se apagan” , according to the bandcamp page ” is an exploration of the fading Boricua culture and the history of Puerto Rican independence movements.”, and it begins with a choppy tense transmission, the sound of a message in a bottle being dragged through an underground cement  tunnel ever so swiftly and softly as to not detect the unknowing above.  The  choppy radio static like noise transmissions quickly fold into more undulating, thick walls of  ambient drone, a thick fog casts itself inside the ear and modulates our mere understanding of the sound’s orgin, we are left with an increasingly angrier and more aggressively articulated drone of unknown origin.  What was once a singing  drone has  turned into an angry, whipping, radicalized wind, devoid of mission and  geographical direction, just a thickness of tension and intention. Proud/Father continuously oscillates between drone, ambient, and soundscapes with swiftness, however compositionally things never seem rushed, always blending into each other  with care and precision, P/F has  crafted an ambient soundscape  strategy to call all their own. For fans of The Shadow Ring, Tim Hecker, Beast Nest etc. Tapes are apparently sold out, though you can get the digital here, highly recommended.

 

 

DECAYCAST Reviews: SHADOWS “KnightsEnd” Cassette (Polar Envy / SKSK, 2018)

DECAYCAST Reviews: SHADOWS “KnightsEnd” Cassette (Polar Envy / SKSK, 2018)

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SHADOWS “Knight’s End” (photo: Polar Envy / ASR)

Cleveland, OH mainstays SHADOWS is David Russell and Wyatt Howland (and at least for this release are assisted via the sonics of Roman J. Leyva) crafting their  dark, horrific, take on the legacy/story of Batman  through mastered techniques of harsh noise, drone, percussion and dynamic  mixing and editing techniques. The sound of SHADOWS seems go evolve with every release and “Knight’s End” is no different. Beginning with a murky, distorted rhythm we are  quickly whisked away into a harsh symphony of ringing, clanging, scraping; attack on  the ear and the “fearless”? The sound of shadows is physically manifested through the  black clad, pointed eared upside down man of the night. “KnightsEnd” fuses longer drone sections, which contain a rather cinematic arch to their presentation, slowly beginning as a low, slow sine wave and over the course of a few minutes, escalate into a cavernous,  yet detailed sonic explosion of harsh noise, voice, and percussion, a masterfully blended evil sonic stew leaving the listener with a tense, uneasy feeling, which for my ear canal is just perfect.

.The B side “KnightQuest”  follows a similar compositional format, beginning with stark, alienating percussion, resembling the swaying of an old, cursed sinking ship with hundreds of  piezos placed within it’s weakest structural support system and signing a hum of the  druid through mangled cassette tape, as it creaks and rips apart all whilst bombs fall from an unknown sky above.  We hear a parade of  dissonant sounds slowly dragging themselves closer and farther away to the ear canal, like a slow, pulsing infectious disease spreading through an unknown human cavity, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. The blending of all of the different sonic elements that compose the sound of SHADOWS is perhaps one of their strongest elements as the  tension seems to build throughout in a subtle, yet  important way, dragging us down and down into the sea of sonic mayhem until the  last air bubble pops at the  surface, the ship has sank, their are no survivors, only the harsh, alienating tortured sounds of Shadows “Knight’s End” As of the time of this review, according to the label’s bandcamp page there’s just, ONE copy left and you should GO HERE AND BUY IT.

POLAR ENVY 

SHADOWS