Wednesday, January 21, 2015

RAGS
“Belief in an Order of Meaning” C32
((Cave)) Recordings


 
One day, in the living room, we were not in our right minds, taking turns playing ADDJ on the turntable, spacing out, making pretty messes on the backs of abandoned record sleeves, getting slightly high on sharpie marker fumes. I’ll blame those fumes. I’d put on White Snake’s “Here I Go Again” 12” single, but didn’t notice that it should have been set to 45rpm.  No one else did, either. The sound from the speakers was heavy and the trebly parts were weird and jangly, but not like something I wouldn’t have put on on purpose. Time went by. Then, out of seemingly nowhere, the chorus kicked in… and we all felt simultaneously sheepish for not realizing the error of my ways.

I don’t remember anyone named James Seever in that room, but I have a feeling he’s witnessed something similar. The only track on side A, “Canopy of Veiled Quantum”, fills nearly 16 minutes of tape with what I’d guess a Sutekh Hexen record would sound like if steadily dragged under the needle at 17rpm; a guitar based drone/noise lamentation on being uncomfortably stable, heavy as pulse-less can be. The slow dynamic builds of mid-range noise are just a few notches short of what a general consensus on “harsh” could be agreed upon, while washes of feedback & warped, organic field recordings fade in and out.  Just barely underneath, not quite competing for utmost attention, are the converse tones of what just escapes being called “soothing” drones. This multi-disciplined SF Bay Area native has tension’s charms clearly commanded here, continuously shifting a feedback riff either too slow or fast to be catchy enough for whistling. By the time a tone of familiar guitar riffery sets in, an organ pipe reminds us that this James Seever is no one trick pony, but a classical minded composer, experimenting well with sinking his teeth into this looser, louder, boundless forum.

Side B, “Galactic Superstructure”, also about 16 minutes, keeps the distortion and constant permutations of guitar textures in the middle-ground; slow piping washes of choral tones meld seemlessly with alternating synth lines. This is nothing to operate heavy machinery to, or sit down and have a nice, hap-hap-happy, self-check in; it’s eerily, beautiful, get-lost-edly hypnotic, for just long enough…’til a schizophrenic run of atmospheric black metal runs almost dark electro-ambient runs outright six-organs-of-admittance-style acoustic meditation…and done damn well…which dumps into field recording of underpass-ish reverb percussion, then Buddhist monk-chanting, then back, again, to the opening vocalist (James’ wife or sister? Someone with a shared surname is credited!) swelling, in layers, trumpeted throughout many a pedal’d effect. A very dynamic journey, rife with subtext and potential for interpretation. Perfect for a creative writing exercise, or forced interpretive dance party. Farcical war-paint optional.



- - Jacob An Kittenplan

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