It’s always a pleasure to welcome a new label to the fold, and the latest to make the cut is cassette imprint Dinzu Artefacts, curated by Joe McKay of Spring Break Tapes. The first five tapes explore the world of experimental electronics, and can be ordered separately or as a batch. Four tapes clock in at a tidy twenty minutes, while the fifth stretches a bit to half an hour. This makes the listening experience easy to handle ~ nothing to overwhelm, save for the often-complex sounds.
Although the tapes are released concurrently, someone has to be #1 on the spine, and the honor goes to Monte Burrows with The Concentration of Brown Owls. Bird sounds (that don’t exactly sound like owls, but that’s okay) poke holes in a static-charged cloud that takes a few minutes to dissipate. When it does, a woodpecker emerges, knocking its head against the sounds of traffic and factories. As Side A progresses, a piano makes an unexpected appearance, only to vanish against a sequence of water taps, perhaps those of a thirsty bird. The piano reemerges, stronger, in the second half, which is when those brown owls finally appear. Then there’s a voiceover that seems to come from a war documentary. The whole recording is pleasantly strange, creating curiosity.
Perhaps purposely and perhaps by coincidence, the second tape also contains traffic noise, piano and a track named after an owl. Hep!Collective‘s Unified Silla Period is another experimental excursion, a tumble of backward masking, snatches of a radio program, circus music and a sense of stolen sound. The set operates as an odd type of mix tape, like riding through the desert, picking up snippets of broadcasts from various college stations, with no unifying theme in sight. A narrator offers his fascination with “the illusion of sound coming from the inside of objects”, and as he speaks, his voice seems to enter into a large tube. The quieter second side is a long drift with occasional words, a detachment from the outside world.
Giovanni Lami‘s Opale delves into pops and clicks, rattles and screeches: another organic/electronic hybrid that can sound like an old swing or a faulty circuit, depending on the time. Each side presents a slow build, culminating in a retreat of one source at the benefit of another. The two pieces also work as one, with a gentle segue connecting the sides. Parts of “Secondo Solco” sound like a loom, conjuring images of Sleeping Beauty. As the plot begins to thicken, the sounds grow harsher, like the soul of the witch. In the closing minutes, it’s all hiss, a fairy tale rewritten, a happy ending denied.
Carapace‘s Sequences is similarly haunted, with dark notes arriving early on “The Dissipated Plain”. This is the sound of dilapidated buildings and radioactive fallout, with something moving in the shadows. One can imagine scouring through the debris, looking for anything salvageable, coming up with a few rusted cans and a jagged knife. Take it ~ you’ll need it. The bass of “Towards the Surface” implies an unseen enemy, its footsteps heard on “Dormant” among the sound of breaking trees. If it breaks cover, run.
Anne-F Jacques‘ Welcome, Electricians sounds like its title, as these are sounds that an electrician might love. From sawing to sparking, from tapping to humming, the tape provides a soundtrack to a house’s rewiring. Amplifications provide a sense of danger, and in a non-entertainment setting would cause one to turn off the fuses or call 911. Side B introduces a tone that lands between an electrical overload and an over-amped violin: musical, yet dissonant. As this sound becomes a drone, other twistings and turnings surround it, pinning it down. Hammering appears in the background; the house is almost done. In the final minutes, the pops begin to dissipate. All has been repaired, but strangely, we already miss the buzz.
Together, these five tapes establish a signature sound for the label, one we hope to explore more in the upcoming months; future installments are planned for Graham Dunning, Billy Gomberg, Jack Taylor, Chemiefaserwerk, Tom White and Me, Claudius. Welcome, Dinzu Artefacts, glad you’ve joined us! (Richard Allen)