DECAYCAST REVIEWS : Phemale “City Silk” LP (Redscroll Records , 2013 )
From the moment I first glanced / heard about / had suspicion of this record, I was intrigued by mystery.
PHEMALE is a unique and elusive project, remaining relatively obscure and under the radar in the east coast experimental music scene , all the while slowly building up a dense meticulously crafted archive of recordings. From browsing the archives or WFMU , Phemale flexes from more traditional drone/ noise to what could be nearly considered fucked up “pop ballads”. Phemale crafts delicate collages that morph into full on structured haunting compositions. Delicate, eerie synthesizers, present but non dominating beats, soft vocals, and samples/ field recordings all mingle to create a hauntingly beautiful mix of dark ambient experimental “pop” songs. Some tracks are more collaged / sample based it appears as they take the listener on a subtle, yet articulate journey through space, time, and emotion. These are cold songs , but never wholly alienating the listener, yet keeping them in a delicate sonic balance of yearning for more information all while embracing the mystery of intention.
Just when things start to get really busy, there’s a calm in the storm and were right back in the artists headspace, for better or for worse. Loss, uncertainty, and identity politics all seem to play a role in the mood and concept of this record with really interesting and unique results. This record is all over the place, in the best possible way, taking outward journeys both with it’s structure and intent, yet always resolving to a plane of solid ground where the listener can regain their bearings and then venturing back out into uncertain terrain, all the better. A loop, inside ones brain , tucked away behind the mask of self progress. From finely tuned minimal sound collage to lushly dark but warm pop slings . “City Silk” DEFINATLEY references early 80s industrial synth pop , but in a highly refreshing and unique way, which soars above and beyond many others dabbling in those genres these days. Phemales sounds are as dark, elusive and under the radar as he is. So don’t sleep on this , or it might just vanish . A beautiful layout and the record comes with a cutout mask! Can’t beat it .