GAMBLETRON / WREN TURCO “We Can’t See Past the Cliff” / “Artesian Pressures” (Idle Chatter / Fabrica Records)

My esteemed Cassette Gods colleague Jacob an Kittenplan has already done the heavy descriptive lifting on this V/A triptych with his writeup of the NaEE RoBErts third of the bunch, so I’m going to leave the label/concept out of this and just point you to the hyperlink above. Gambletron’s tape is all over the place, in a good way, beginning with “Guelph, Ontario,” an ode, presumably, to “The Royal City.” Beginning with layers of texture, the track morphs into a club banger before pulling back into instrumental hip hop territory. At twelve minutes, it makes me want twelve minutes more of whatever comes next. Hey, there’s a second side? Brilliant! “AM Radio Theremin Drone” packs all the menace and weirdness of hovering theremin and combines it with radio signals and static, suggesting outer-limits communication or deep-space intelligence. Or maybe somebody’s spying on you from behind the Iron Curtain, and your radio and phone are tapped, producing the interference. And this is the 1960s or 1970s or something. Creepy!

Wren Turco is the curator of the Transparens series, and her contribution, “Artesian Pressures,” glows with electronic neon hyperactivity. Never static, always restless, Turco’s tracks take on lives of their own and sustain themselves with seemingly little effort, much like the wells suggested by the tape title maintain their water levels without much interference or need for pumping. Thus, to cliff-dive facefirst into an awkward metaphor, sonic irrigation of the mind can commence. Oh, groan! But, perhaps, Turco’s tape is the closest of the trio to come to exemplifying the cover artwork, which was, in her own words, “created from a sequence of transparent sculptural projections that gradually mutate in motion.” Apply that to “Aretsian Pressures,” and you’ve got a conceptual match.

Cassette edition, limited to 100, is still available from Fabrica. Act now!


Wren Turco

NaEE RoBErts

Fabrica Records

--Ryan Masteller