“[Holland] Tunnel construction required workers to spend large amounts of time in the caisson under high pressure of up to 47.5 pounds per square inch (328 kPa), which was thought to be necessary to prevent river water from entering prior to completion of the tubes. "Sandhogs", as they were termed, entered the tunnel through a series of airlocks, and could only remain inside of the tunnel for a designated time period. On exiting the tunnel, the workers had to undergo controlled decompression to avoid the bends, a condition in which nitrogen bubbles form in the blood from rapid decompression. Fortunately, no workers died as a result of decompression sickness: the work involved "756,000 decompressions of men coming out of the compressed air workings," which resulted in 528 cases of the bends, none fatal. Completion of the tunnel took nearly seven years and claimed the lives of 14 workers.” ~Wikipedia J
I’m pretty sure that STRNGLV’s side of this split, a half hour’s worth of layered, ever fluctuating textural synth loops, a la Alessandro Cortini, could give anyone who worked on this project an immediate flashback. Whenever I listened to this tape (a good full ten times before writing this review), I kept imagining myself several stories below a major metropolitan cityscape, exploring tunnel after tunnel of hissing, gurgling pipes, scurrying fauna and the faint tribal echoes of vehicles passing over distant, loose storm drains. Somehow, the passages were all well lit, never feeling overtly ominious, nor commercially polished. This is an excellent soundtrack for dreaming big time weird shit.
A great pairing for this split, the Pelktopia side feels somehow not quite fully out in the open, but definitely in open air, communing with the great elements. Imagine taking a long stroll along a busy pier, but, defying gravity, you get the whole underside to yourself, gentle waves lapping just inches above your head. Pelktopia trades synths for heavily processed electric guitar effects that stretch patiently plucked single notes into infinity.
The mental space provided by each sound artist alone is its own worthwhile journey, but doing so while looking through the beautifully curated 16-page color art booklet provided by Aubjects, the fostering DIY label, is thrilling. Busily squirming pictures of organic chaos are juxtaposed with the spirit of cold-hearted order, unrealized blueprints of ambition. I’m pretty excited to look more into this progressive label.
- - Jacob An Kittenplan