Saturday, April 9, 2016

HEAD DRESS “Slow Chime” C30 (Hylé Tapes)




It’s pretty obvious, I think, that Head Dress would finally appear on the Hylé Tapes roster. The LA-based artist and Norelco Mori podcaster, real name Ted James Butler, is an experimentalist tapehead’s dream, and he fits right in with the Paris-based megalabel’s aesthetic. (I guess I use “megalabel” a bit loosely, sue me.) On Slow Chime, we get thirty minutes of outsider ambient/electronic/drone/noise with dashes of wildness sprinkled all over the place, adding spice and grit and all manner of flavor and texture adjectives to these base descriptors. I’m a fan. Are you a fan? Yes, you are.

“Coats,” “Slow Chime,” and “Gravenhurst” comprise side A and showcase the variety Head Dress utilizes within his compositions. MIDI pops and pings, string scrapes, synthesizer brownouts, and wisps of incandescence characterize these offerings, and keep the listener guessing. But when we hit side B and the entirety of the opaquely titled “TI1 1262014IT” overwhelms you in its enveloping presence over the course of fifteen minutes, that’s when you know Head Dress has won, that he has dominated your ear canals to such a degree that you’re likely a melted puddle of biology when it’s complete. Cacophony for six and a half minutes gives way to wonderfully tuned power drone, all while pumping endorphins through your body as it simultaneously disintegrates it. Cool! And yuck!

That’s where I am after Slow Chime, a floor puddle, an unfortunate result of physics affecting the molecules in my skin, bones, blood and tissue. But isn’t that just how you like your experimental music? Don’t you want it to cause you to evolve in meaningful ways? Or at least affect you to the point where your physical instability can be the springboard that allows others to evolve? Whatever. There’s something in Head Dress’s music that’s vital and dangerous, bewitching and overpowering, and I can’t get enough of it. Maybe you won’t be able to either. See you at floor level!




--Ryan Masteller

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