Friday, July 11, 2014

MORK AIA / GHOIR split tape
(Pikkalma)

This is a full-length split tape from Russian experimental sound ensembles Mork AiA and Ghoir. Lately, I’ve written a couple of reviews for tapes that I’m pretty unqualified to have an opinion about. So far those topics foreign to me have both had to do with metal and its subgenres. I am excited to announce that this cassette features not one, but TWO elements I no adequate background or motivated interest to write about.

Below you will find the sum of my knowledge regarding Russia:

1) Pussy Riot is a band/thing, though I don’t entirely understand what/which.
2) Contrary to popular wisdom, Marx was German, not Russian.
3) It’s too cold to grow corn there.

Here is the sum of my knowledge regarding experimental music:

1) You are not supposed to think of or refer to tracks as ‘songs’…the politically correct term is “pieces”. However, some ‘pieces’ or elements of ‘pieces’ can sound like songs, therefore they will sometimes be placed on a spectrum running from Not A Song to Songlike.

2) The closest I can get to the correct vocabulary to describe this music are the highly technical terms, ‘sounds cool’, ‘sounds boring’, and ‘just sounds’. I will attempt to invent some words to make up for this deficiency.

3) The Residents and Sun City Girls are pretty good. I learned about John Cage, Tony Conrad, and Lamont Young in college. I don’t know too much about them, though I often pretend to. Do Can or Psychic TV count?

Here is a philistinian breakdown of this cassette, piece-by-piece…brace yourself for many hyphens, fragmented sentences and inconsistent capitalization:

SIDE A: Mork AiA

1) Daggry – I very much hope this title is an attempt to coin the use of ‘dagger’ as an adjective. As for the music, it slowly builds from nothing-recognizable to nothing-slightly-recognizable.

2) Natt – Sounds like an extension of the first piece but with a heavier Enya influence…meditation music for robots

3) Fra Omrader – this piece is heavy on Songlike tendencies. It’s about two and a half minutes of pretty much the same thing; decently catchy beat, can’t tell if there’s one guitar riff involved or two seemingly melted together but whatever it is, it works.

4) Seeker Av – Probably my favorite on the A side of the cassette…sounds like the soundtracks to transmission from a cosmonaut-swamp…simple and overlapping twangy, echoing guitar (?) riffs with ambient sludge filing out the background…inaudible speaking engulfed in static…beeps and other space-sounds…this is the soundtrack to Apollo 13 as directed by (holy mountain guy)

5) Krov – we briefly find ourselves back in the Enya-gone-wrong universe that gave us the first two pieces, but jumps through different sounds and sensibilities in 15 second chunks like the turning of a radio dial…pretty cool stuff


SIDE B: Ghoir

1) Evina – spooky, possibly swamp-dwelling monks

2) Oscillate Me – So ‘songlike’ that it’s pretty much a song…driving drum machine rhythm…singing in English (probably)

3) Allove – Another piece that features singing even more probably in English..nearly pushing it off the charts relative to the Not-A-Song to Songlike spectrum…Rhythm sounds like bongos and castanets….

4) Video Satan – Spooky monks are back…or possible just one going solo

5) Noir – obviously a robot drowning…equal parts sad and awesome

6) Avada – a refreshing blast of bluegrass guitar, bucket-sounding percussion, featuring the ghost monk choir on vocals

7) Glass – Air Mattress Deflating/Reinflating Themed Dance Party featuring a classic note-bending, slightly off-kilter synth melody

8) Badadadabam – Exactly what it sounds like

9) Death of Unknown Tapdancer – Between two and five seals trying to kill a bee trapped in a room. They are unsuccessful and another bee enters towards the end.

Listen to it here:

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