Tuesday, January 29, 2008

TERENCE HANNUM "Obelisk" (Self released)

CG readers might be familiar with Terence Hannum through the Chicago groups Locrian (who have a forthcoming 7" on Mark Solotroff's Bloodlust! label) and Unlucky Atlas. A Locrian tape previously reviewed in these pages was a hazy, overall guitar heavy dronescape which borrowed from contemporary Japanese psych such as LSD March or Suishou no Fune. Hannum's solo entry carries the same feeling, but here it's melodica and harmonica that carry the melody, buoyant on waves of bass and vocal drone. There's something about a melancholy melodica sound processed through delay and echo that's too classic to ever be wrong. (Admittedly, that's coming from an Augustus Pablo fan.) "Obelisk" isn't nearly a dub track, although its wide influences could also include ambient, psych and noise. Shimmering and lulling at first and darkly caustic towards the end, "Obelisk" consistently focuses on a subtle, drawn out interplay between harmony and atonality.
The single eleven minute title track carries across both sides. It's a bit of a downer to hear the gradual buildup cut off at the halfway mark, but the material is enticing enough to flip repeatedly. As with the self-released Locrian tape, this is wrapped in a letterpressed slip of thick black cardstock. From a glance at Hannum's Myspace page it looks like there are still copies available, so connoisseurs of today's underground Chicago sounds take note. RECOMMENDED!

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