A C20? This brings back memories. Just as I finally sold the car with the cassette player, here come the cassettes. But that’s a good thing – either foolhardy, brave, nostalgic, wise, or some combination of the above. Liminal Noise Tapes is another new venture determined to swim against the tide, but as their location is Southend on Sea, they seem to have plenty of experience.
The two ten-minute tracks on this release (not a second wasted!) are accurate reflections of their titles, operating at different ends of the drone field and vibrating at vastly different frequencies. Pollux‘s “Coma” ventures early into some dark and dissonant notes, as if an organist’s hand had slipped off the keys. The song itself is not in a coma, but it possesses little brightness and even less energy. Given the fact that Arnaud Barbe has released over 130 recordings in five years, this comes as no surprise; perhaps it’s time to slow down. The expected ebb and flow are present, but the spirit is ailing.
Rainbow Valley‘s “Ocean” comes as a breath of fresh salt air. The spirits are lifted within seconds on bright floral notes that stream from the speakers like the rainbow of the artist’s moniker. (Graham Boosey also goes by Little Penguin, but that’s another story entirely.) This piece also ebbs and flows, but in less predictable fashion, just like the ocean of its namesake, whose waves vary in size, interval and direction. The changing thicknesses and volumes within this piece are a draw; the sculpting is creative and smooth. Best of all, the tone of the drone is hopeful and alive. As it’s ending, it’s still not enough.
“Coma” and “Ocean” operate together as yin and yang, rest and movement, darkness and light. Auto-flip isn’t suitable for this release; better to take it out, turn it over, and appreciate the difference. Now if only I hadn’t sold that car. (Richard Allen)