QUALCHAN “Pools of Light / Pools of Shadow” C30 (Beauty Supply Records)

What do experimental artists do when they call a side of a tape nothing more than “Side A” or “Side B”? They drone on and on relentlessly on each side, and much of the time they don’t even bother to ‘change things up’ a bit. In fact, I went to Qualchan’s bandcamp page to see what they’d deemed the sides, and they didn’t even bother to capitalize. They actually just labeled the sides “side a.” and “side b.”, punctuation included! As a man with a passion for orthography I took note that – well it looked cool. Moving on.

So I popped in the tape and listened to “side a.” They *gasp* changed things up forty-something seconds into the song. And then they changed it up again. And again. And then again. And they did this over and over until the side was over. Here’s the thing ladies and gentlemen: every little ditty they played here was catchy as hell. And I mean very, very impressively so.

That was “side a.” Now to listen to “side b.” and see what I think.

This side is totally different from the last. It follows the same switch-it-up-every-time-you-get-used-to-the-track pattern, and it does so with a completely different approach. Where the last track was easy to deem electronica, this side combines electronica with punk and rock with classical. And the word “vintage” keeps floating into my brain.

Listen to them. It can’t hurt. Listen to this tape and see what you think. I love this tape myself, and I’ve never been a fan of experimental music. But this is a beautiful and rewardable album I’m happy to put in my collection of cassettes.

The Album
The Label
Some Other Related Label
Beauty Supply's SoundCloud
The Weird-Ass Music Video

–M. Syed