Sunday, December 31, 2017

SOPORUS
“Windscale Pile No. 1”
(Do You Dream of Noise?)




As I contemplated “Windscale Pile No. 1,” I marveled at the coincidence surrounding my receipt of this tape and its subsequent review. First, Do You Dream of Noise? must have some exclusive European rights, as this tape was “released under exclusive license” from Burnt Toast Vinyl, a Philadelphia-based label with whose releases I’ve had some interaction in the past. Second, Soporus, guitarist Matthew Stone and bassist William Stichter, performed together in the band Saxon Shore, a really good post rock band who I’ve sadly only encountered on compilations. (Really good compilations.) Saxon Shore has deep connections to the corridor from Central Pennsylvania to Philadelphia, a corridor I’ve often traversed during my time living just south of Harrisburg, driving the two hours or so to Philadelphia and back for shows, Phillies games, family visits, etc. It should come as no surprise, then, for anyone familiar with the area that Soporus has a deep connection to man’s attempt to harness nuclear power, as the infamous Three Mile Island lies not far from where I lived and Stone grew up. In fact, the track “A Clear View of Three Mile Island from on Top of Governor Dick Tower” is as obvious a paean to this topic as you can get, and it strikes me just right as I, myself, as a college-age whippersnapper, once climbed a water tower overlooking Harrisburg and TMI in the distance. As Stone, Schichter, and I approach forty (and damn you for dragging that out of me!), I’m overwhelmed by history and memory that such biographical details and the music of “Windscale Pile No. 1” conjure.

This ruminative attitude is reciprocal: Soporus plays it, I reflect on it, and thus the circle is complete. That’s what Soporus wants us to get out of this anyway – reflect upon the meditative passages of “Windscale,” get deep into the currents of the past and how we relate to it, and let the sonics break over us like waves on a shore, or drift upon us like snow on a path, or rise and ascend with us like luminous beings. Listening to “Windscale” is the equivalent of being back on top of that water tower in the dead of night, adventure ahead, life brimming, nothing to stop forward progress but our own flaws. And where we are now in relation to that matters only to your innermost secrets. Coincidence from past to present drives “Windscale,” reflects it, causes you to react to it, but meditating on that experience will unlock the secrets.

Let’s end, then, on a recap of the strange path this tape took to get to me: a label from Sweden sent this tape to me in Florida, but I probably lived no more than 20 miles from the band in a past life in Pennsylvania.

RIYL: Stars of the Lid

Soporus
Do You Dream of Noise? (again, this is in Swedish)

--Ryan Masteller