Holy crap, there’s another review for INFINITE HUM that’s making me giddy and giggly, this time from the lovely folks over at The Quietus.
The column, SPOOL’S OUT, also features lots of other recent tape reviews in this (only the second) monthly column as well as some interesting thoughts on the act/art of putting out cassettes in an age like this.
Thanks, guys! *blushes*
Flat out noise is a tough review to write. The reasons as to why a particular twenty-minute stretch of luminescent white noise is any better than another are often actually relatively difficult to pinpoint beyond “that Masonna track made me feel dizzy, but in a good way”, or “that Bastard Noise jam was a bit too much for me today”. Rhythm, tonality and melody all go more or less out the window, leaving texture and structure behind. It is what it is, and the very being what it is, is most of what it is – if you get my meaning – and in this case, Where Is This is what it is.
The Tapeworm is a relentless tape label dedicated to putting out music by often-unknown artists aiming to explore the strengths, history and flaws of the format. They’ve already put out four tapes in 2014, including an abstract assemblage of iPhone recordings by Oren Ambarchi and, indeed, this ball aching blowout of a noise tape by Dubliner Mark Ward. Having pressed play, oppressive walls of distorted sound flood my speakers, the limits of the tape format readily audible, and any sense of clarity a distant memory already. There’s no detail given as to how the sounds were made either. This could be guitar feedback, or a distorted keyboard, or bastardised field recordings – and it barely matters. The very outer edges of the noise are perhaps softened somewhat by the cavernous reverb treatment given to the proceedings. This glacial edge is more audible on side two’s comparatively gentle ‘Infinite Hiss’, which chooses to lap the shore of the speakers in ebbing waves. But it’s the opening sidelong ‘Infinite Hum’ and the equally challenging high-end squall of ‘Infinite Howl’ that stick in the mind, giving and taking away in as much as it takes a stoic listener to make it through in one piece, but utterly defies any attempt at tuning out. The restlessly prolific DIY noise artist is almost an underground cliché at this point, but tapes like Infinite Hum are a reminder as to precisely why it’s such an important form of music, and just how the much sonic exploration we’ve still left to do.