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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Beta Cloud - Coptic Lament [WitchHouse Records - 2006]

Carl T. Pace aka the Beta Cloud is a self described purveyor of "ambient/noise/doom/shoegaze" music out of New York (somewhere). It's strange to even review this release because it is limited on the level of Organum's early cassettes. The review copy that I received appears to be a part of the general release of a whopping twenty copies (mine is 13/20). There is also an even more limited edition release of ten, which includes six original photographs taken by Pace and is wrapped in black cloth. It appears as though both editions are still available at the time of this review, if the Witchhouse Records website is up to date, so act yesterday if you want a copy.

The music contained within this 35 minute CD-R is actually quite good. The aforementioned mixture of genres is not entirely indicative of these recordings. After listening to Coptic Lament, I was not surprised to find that Carl T. Pace is acquainted with James Plotkin and Aidan Baker, because some of these drone leaden, doomy pieces remind me of their work. Rather than ape his peers, though, Pace has an original take, mostly because of his methodology.

All of these pieces were improvised live with analog effects, oscillators, prepared guitar, loops and sampler. There are quite a few moments where crushing noise dominates the proceedings, but they are leavened by some actual melody here and there, as well as some silence. There's also some character to this to this work, partly, but not solely attributable to Pace's methods. That is due to the production style. These recordings don't sound poorly recorded, yet at the same time they also have a lo-fi feel. There are hisses, static, and overblown peaks which give Coptic Lament a raw, primal sound.

There's more than enough here to sustain interest. Lets hope the next release is available to more than thirty people, because Carl T. Pace's music is worthy of being heard by a lot more.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Erwin Michelfelder
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