Friday, December 16, 2011

SILENT ISLE/BELLTONESUICIDE
"Sylvan Pass/Debt Management" c90
(Gilded Throne)

A fine split tape. Can't go wrong here.

Silent Isle (aka Anastasia Clarke of Hudson, NY) lays down successive layers of twinkling guitar picking and semi-wordless vocals that, as they build, become more and more washed out and trance inducing. By the end of the tape, you'd think you were listening to a hazy synthesizer jam. If you've been paying attention to my reviews, you might notice that I am generally not a fan of loop station work, but Clarke keeps it varied enough for this long-building piece to hold my interest. I had the pleasure of seeing her live set in a basement recently and it certainly delivered. Just be prepared to commit some time to this, I think we've got about 45 minutes of continuous music here.

Belltonesuicide is the (mostly) one man project of Mike Barrett of Northampton, MA. Mike has been laying it down in one way or another since 1998 ('99 under the Belltone moniker), issuing a slew of releases with inventive handmade packaging. I'm not going to pretend to understand what exactly this man is doing with his table top set up, which often includes a mixture of pedals, sound producing electronics and household objects, but the results are sonically immense. Underneath the monolithic wall of harshness that makes up the first half of this recording, you'll find subtle and melodic bass tones that belie and influence of a more danceable strain of electronica. My favorite section is when the tape "mellows out" about half way through and a there's this wonderful part where the tape sounds like it's eating itself alive under a "cathcy" feedback solo.

Silent Isle - here or here or here
Belltonesuicide - here or here

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