WHERE is THIS - Infinite Hum [The Tapeworm - 2014]
This tape from WHERE is THIS comes in smartly striking, monochrome artwork; black on white and professionally printed. The tape, in matching monochrome, has three tracks across its duration. These pieces are actually quite old now, having been recorded in early 2011 and all three have a similar form and modus operandi. The first and longest track, “Infinite Hum”, takes up all of side A. It sets out WHERE is THIS’s stall for the entire tape: reverberating drone and noise. The piece is dominated by snaking waves of shifting feedback, slowly mutating; with each new tone pushing up and out of the last. Around the edges of these strong lines, there are layers of noise textures; created, I suspect, as by-products of the feedback tones themselves. The piece rarely develops or alters to any great extent, but one point an urgent, rattling line of drone appears - probably the strongest part of the track
Flipping the tape over, we have “Infinite Hiss” and “Infinite Howl”. The former fixes its stare on distant clouds of resonant tones, but delivers them to us reverberating and saturated; resulting in a slow-paced series of crescendos and climb-downs. These are accompanied by passages of “white-out”, sounding like the pouring of sand. When the saturation dissipates, after a while, a lovely section of driftwork is found (presumably the “distant clouds” run under the whole track); its easily the most effective and affecting moment on the album. The last work, “Infinite Howl”, is almost a pared down, concentrated study of the whole tape. A strong feedback line being pushed into juddering reverberation and bringing forth scratchy saturation.
This is quite different from most of the WHERE is THIS releases I have heard. It concentrates rather more explicitly on drone, than on HNW. Though, saying this, “Infinite Howl” is perhaps “drone with applied HNW aesthetics” - there’s a sense that the track is left to itself, to find its own mutations and developments. My constant talk of noise and saturation shouldn’t be interpreted as suggesting that “Infinite Hum” is overly dark or abrasive. Whilst it most certainly is very noisy, the tape is headed “skyward” as a whole - indeed, the front cover has a line drawing of two humanoid characters flying through space in a tiny ship. This is very good, very solid, very concentrated; but, to use the most tired of get-out clauses: “not my cup of tea”.Martin P