Automating - Bereitschaftspotential [Ice Age Productions - 2014]Ice Age Productions presents Bereitschaftspotential, a 3” CD-R by Australia’s Automating. I wasn’t at all familiar with this project, but when I looked through the slim information available on the insert, I saw the name Sasha Margolis. I am familiar with Margolis’s work in Constant Light, having thoroughly enjoyed their krautrock meets synth drone album Mag-Amplitude. However, Automating is an entirely different beast altogether.
Aesthetically the packaging on this tiny fellow is rather plain and minimal. The unmarked disc comes in a polycase with black and white art featuring an ouroboros, geometric shapes, and some psychedelic line work than vaguely resembles a pentagram.The case is then inserted in a cardboard border to fit into a regular CD sized polybag. All in all, the art looks like reference work in a tattoo portfolio. I could take it or leave, so I’ll let the music speak for itself.
The tiny 3” disc contains a single track, of which Margolis makes the most of it’s 21 minute play time. Hard to define, Bereitschaftspotential is a collision of tape-based drone, dense atmospherics, field recordings (most notably the sounds of birds and a cat), degraded loops, stringed instruments (perhaps cello sounds created through a synth?), magnetic tape manipulations.and a number of other synth and effects based sounds. The piece evokes feelings of foreboding dread, through the use of dense atmospherics and a repetitive knocking sound, yet those doomy elements are tempered by the track’s instrumental moments and sparing use of animal sounds. There’s also quite a bit a of clicking, crunching, and sputtering going also, which I thought at first was a synthesizer, but could be more cassette manipulations...it’s hard to tell. All I know is that all that combined makes for an engaging listening experience that is every bit as good, although completely different to Margolis’s work in Constant Light.
All in all, an enjoyable and concise introduction to this talented composer’s work. I look forward to hearing more from this project in the future.Hal Harmon