Wednesday, November 18, 2015

RYAN EMMETT “Pulling the Wool”
(White Reeves Productions)



More White Reeves Productions releases please! I’ve just discovered this Pittsburgh-based label, and I want more, right now. Did you hear me? If my gratification is not instant, it’s not fricking gratification now, is it? No way. So you’ll just have to get on it, there, Ryan Emmett.

Why do I single out Ryan Emmett you say? Is it because it’s his tape you’re reviewing? No. Far from being part of the problem (which I’ll get to in a second), Ryan’s tape is quite good, and I’m going to flip it over again after it’s done and re-listen to it. I single him out because he operates the label, along with Micah Pacileo, so the release schedule is on him. The problem, as alluded to, is that White Reeves only releases “limited edition physical documents of adventurous sound artists and musicians who are part of or friends of the White Reeves family.” The disclaimer adds, “Unfortunately we cannot accept demos at this time.” There it is! They’re actively not trying to release music by likeminded artists just because they don’t know them! For shame, Ryan Emmett. For shame.

I half kid, only because the releases I’ve heard from the label (Earth/Vessel’s self-titled tape being the other) are superior, far-out experimental excursions to who bloody knows where. The mere suggestion that I’m clamoring for more after only hearing two of the six releases in the catalog should be an indication that these dudes are on to something. Something big. Emmett builds sound formations using, I dunno, whatever he can find. What comes out is electronic-ish, noise-ish, but melodic, a world of weird possibilities and diversions. Think of Good Willsmith and the Caretaker unceremoniously smooshed together, along with other, equally interesting artists. It’s a milkshake!

This tape is really all over the place. Opener “The Never Ending Bend” teases with dank synth tones and flickering samples, then blooms (if you want to call it that) with a brass dirge. Tracks like “A Newly Polished Mirror” (parts 1 and 2) and “Almost There” feature queasily rendered instrumentation, such as sweet piano or strings, with ghostly ambient field recordings. “A Little Clicking Cupboard” even lives up to its name with a slight IDM pulse underneath the layers.

The title track, which at almost fifteen minutes stretches all across side B, is a diversion from the diversion, as it morphs into a warped version of a country and western song (think Roy Rogers, not Blake Shelton) piped in across dimensions, a ghost song sung by a ghost. Then it becomes an interstellar ambient prog passage for its remaining runtime, a gorgeous transmission from somewhere in the direction of the Virgo Cluster. It ends too soon.

So uh – I’m going to go to the website and buy the other tapes that didn’t come in my batch. Race you to the last copies!



--Ryan Masteller


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