CONCRETE COLORED PAINT “Through a Lens” (Orb Tapes)

Peter Kris looks through lots of lenses. The German Army conspirator has released under various monikers so many tapes and records and CDs about so many people, places, and things that the question “What lens is Peter Kris [and collaborator, if applicable] looking at the world through this time?” The answer on his recent Orb Tapes release is, “… a Lens.” Just, Through a Lens. We have to figure the type of lens out for ourselves, then, don’t we?

Fortunately we have Orb Tapes’s descriptive copy, and through it we find that Kris recorded the majority of the audio in Taiwan. So with the origin of the field recordings determined, we can picture at least where on the map we are, even if we haven’t ever been to Taiwan itself. Weirdly, Taiwanese daily life, including the rain, the wind in trees, and birdsong, etc., sounds awfully like what we’re used to here in the United States. Different language, sure, but oddly enough, people on the other side of the world are remarkably human, living remarkably similar lives to ours. Let that be a lesson to us, one that Depeche Mode once tried to hammer home: people are people; let’s treat each other nicely.

Kris grew up in the San Gabriel Valley, so Taiwan was always just a plane ride across the ocean for him, and he finally got a chance to get there. As Concrete Colored Paint, the moniker he uses for his more ambient releases, he takes us along with him as he wanders around the country, processing the sounds and incorporating synthesizer washes as accompaniment. It holds an even keel throughout, and even branches off into kosmische tangents at points. In the end, though, it’s another fascinating travelogue from the master of them.