One Quarter Descent is a picture postcard, one that has been sent from a quiet town that lives under pink skies, with ambient residents and quaint drones a part of the laid-back lifestyle. The pearly white of the church stands high above the tree-lined street; the sidewalks give way to bleached fences and rural stretches. Washed drones and open guitars come to find shelter here.
In deep suburbia, you will find The Fun Years – years that date back, in some instances, to early childhood. The drones dress casually, with vanilla-cream shirts and blue jeans that are fashionably jaded. Nostalgic decay bleeds into the drone’s fabric, ripping it open and adding its autograph to the already torn denim. Rooted to the drone are casual memories, reaching far under the ground.
Over smooth stretches, curving around coastal roads, the drone takes in the slow motion flight of the seagull, the geese, picking up the sound of a silent radio station. Occasionally, the tyres pick up the grit of the road, asphalt grinding against the music. It’s unable to dislodge itself, but the drone speeds forward nonetheless. There are no ill effects; if anything, the soft, clipped sound of the pebbles rattling against the stable drone is inviting and pleasant. Another looped layer joins in, although it is a mystery as to when it first appeared. It’s gentle in its sound, blossoming when it sees fit. No traffic lights or stop signs put an end to the journey, save for the fifteen minute mark and the tape’s turnover. Bewitching as it is, you come to realize that the population is low going on zero, bordering the idyllic and the surreal. Hooded teens mask as skateboarders looking for legal highs, but the local police department is just as subdued as the rest of the town.
“Sun Blackened Field Daisy” is completely innocent for 11 of its 15 minutes; it’s only with the entrance of a distorted, two-toned drone that the music starts to rebel, perhaps blackening against the sun, its intense, incessant heat beating down onto the drone. The drone sizzles and then loops in on itself, dehydrated and close to submission.
Ben Recht and Isaac Sparks have a somewhat unconventional style that incorporates both a turntable and a baritone guitar; a typical town with unexpected instruments. This lovely pink tape is something you need to get your hands on. Spring Break Tapes are an insanely fresh cassette label; they are highly thought of. One Quarter Descent is another doozy.
The scenery constantly moves, transparent in its tone as if seen behind the filmy glass of a windshield. Hazy interpretations of life in the small community are remembered; objects in the rear-view mirror are closer than they appear. In this neighbourhood, secrets will always be hard to keep. The music walks through this place, the place where we grew up, with the things of the past resurfacing in the mind. Since 2003, the year when the loop first surfaced, a lot has happened. Tough times took a hold of many, death claimed a few and the parks became frequent places of refuge instead of rebellious teenage hangouts.
A soupy wave of guitar introduces the other side, “Sea The Shroud / Janice Was Into Recovery”. Another gorgeous panorama floats by, the tracks mixing gently into one another; you can soak into this kind of drone. The days of old have gone, but their influences are a continual shadow, pursuing us like a game of kiss chase in the school playground. They cast thoughts into the present day, so much so it’s like coming home. Those sprayed sunsets in the park are as beautiful as ever, the sky as pink as the tranquilized colour of the tape. Wish you were here. (James Catchpole)