Wednesday, May 16, 2007

WEREWOLF JERUSALEM + THE RITA "Skin of Coarse Hair, Skin of Coarse Hide" (Swampland)

A one-sided c58? What are we supposed to do with this? This is not acceptable. One-sided vinyl is fine because in order to hear the record again, you don't have to flip it over and listen to, or fast forward through, a blank side. Part of the appeal of cassettes is their pseudo-endless quality; if your tape deck flips tapes automatically, you can listen forever. However, when one side is blank, and especially when that side is twenty nine minutes long, the listening experience is severely hindered by the mandatory pause while you get back to the beginning.
Having said all of that, I was expecting to talk about the problem of collaboration when it comes to an artist like The Rita (whose project is based on the dogmatic adherence to a very specific aesthetic/ideology) but there’s no point. This tape is dubbed so poorly that there is barely material on it at all. When played at top volume, the tape hiss is so much louder than the music a person could mistake it for the blank B side. In fact, when I tried to listen to this in my car, my tape player didn’t even recognize that there was content on this tape, and tried to “seek” through the entire thing. The question one has to ask herself then, is: what the fuck? Is this label so cynical that it knows these two artists are popular enough that this tape will sell out too fast for anyone to warn other potential purchasers of its incredibly poor quality? Or is my copy an anomaly and the rest are dubbed much louder?
It’s really too bad. These are two artists whose work I purchase without hesitation and believed to be, until hearing this, pretty consistently interesting. Perhaps I have missed the point. Maybe this is a conceptual release, whose artistic goal is to present noise-floor tape hiss as musical material, and therefore both sides are meant to be listened to with equal attention. If this is the case, then the tape succeeds impressively. But I still prefer the Reynols CD on Trente Oiseaux.