Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Kassette Kulture #17 - Do Tell – Sewn to the Current

This double tape release from Housecraft is an 80 minute travelogue of radiating silvers and sepia spans curling over in zig zags of broken coronas. The way the field- recordings blur into the instruments is just lovely, those clippings of metallic toenails falling into a pot of electro-plated riffs and croaky radio dialogue, as if it was perfectly natural. All those strange concoctions, coming across like diarist snapshots with feathered edging… bird noises, half perceived radio murmurings and tranquil drone, shifting its weight as if getting more comfortable… when the guitar breaks from those dronic clasps you’re filled with that Durutti Column type melting euphoria…

Everything here has a real arcane atmosphere, a dusty yesteryear valour sitting rather well with that 40’s Kodamatic nostalgia of the artwork. The tracks on the first two sides are full of the half remembered, the fading lights of a seemingly endless array of reddened twilights, where pressed flowers still hold the scent of summers now trodden back into the tarmac. Nothing is hurried; everything breathes a relaxed air, floating on its own echoed reflections… Then, the hue turns slightly industrial, serpent-like sibilance on a dampened beat or tramline sonics thrown round a repeated piano trawl, full of sparky Christmas frosting… Later, hammered cords make metal quills, caught in the flow of exquisite calligraphics.

Side three continues the industrial feel, a machinery frottage oozing a sombre light, intermittent narration and echo bird squawk to drunken piano falling between the cracks. Stepped guitar vs. effect hinges, feeding the scene in introspection, allowing small details to flourish and die. The reflective calm later scavenged by shifting wooden trolleys and short hand mechanics… the individual nature of each track blurring into the next as if one continuous mix… a repeated guitar ambles over itchy moth wings, then chopped up into intakes of breath, fed to a distant chirping…. Clanking metal and shovel sweeped concrete, a twang dribbled over to piano, as the branches fill out with pastoral shadings reminiscent of Virginia Astley soundcapes…

The live stuff on the last side proves Do Tell is more than just a studio bound trickster, as he seamlessly blends samples across rhythms like sky messages written in dust, or becomes as transitory as Bogart smoke caught in the pool table’s light, all strung over a slowly dilated drone… I can’t recommend this release enough.

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