At this time of year, we begin searching for October music: haunted, disconcerting and dark. The Day 1982 Contaminated 1971 nails the mood. Detuned radios, disembodied dialogue and fragments of sound drift down deserted hallways like echoes in an abandoned institution. The album sounds like a time capsule, the perfect reflection of its title. Imagine a buried canister being unearthed, and instead of containing some boring old coin and town newspaper, it contained an unmarked tape. Now imagine this same tape abraded to the extent that the layers of taping and re-taping could not be distinguished: orchestras and narrators, dirt and detritus, spirits and shades.
“What’s going on?” a voice asks in the opening piece. And indeed, the LP comes across as a mystery. Some call this hauntology, normally the realm of The Caretaker, but Fossil Aerosol Mining Project is much older and more purposely historical, better classified as post-industrial. Since 1983, they’ve been excavating old hotels and movie theaters, digging in debris, choosing sonic artifacts to present to a world that has prematurely considered such sites irrelevant. One can hear such scrapings at various points in the album, as if pottery shards were being used as shovels. A pipe clanks; a door rattles. It’s often hard to tell the difference between the rescued (old film reels, abandoned tape) from the playback (broken devices cobbled together with tape and twine). Snatches of dialogue, old movie scores and sudden splices act like passing thoughts, flittering ideas, words on the tip of the tongue.
“You be careful,” a man warns in “The Remains of Veronica’s Fake Laboratory (Part 1)”. An element of danger is apparent throughout the set. And yet, the allure of the forgotten and unknown is greater than any fear. What are these sonic treasures? Are there more? Is there a place that we (the listeners) might travel to get some of our own, or does Fossil Aerosol Mining Project have a secret stash? The site-specific nature of these recordings grounds them in reality ~ the first 200 copies even contain “fragments of 1970s intermission film, recovered from an abandoned drive-in theater during the early 1980s”. Ironically, the current presentation of these fragments may be more appealing than the original sounds. 2015 contaminates 1982 in the same way as 1982 contaminates 1971. “Damage to the Following Day” includes the sound of a clock and the single word “time.” Looping and lurching, staggering and stumbling, Fossil Aerosol Mining Project has created a document that by design belongs to no time and all time, collapsing like a sonic sinkhole, compressing everything it swallows. (Richard Allen)
Release date: 30 October