Cindytalk - touchedRAWKISSEDsour [Handmade Birds - 2014]
Gordon Sharp's Cindytalk began as an industrial/post punk crossover band with a full band line-up in the 80's, but since reactivating in 2009, has been a pensive ambient noise solo project. His new album "touchedRAWKISSEDsour" is a colorful firestorm of sharp and visceral psychedelic distortion, arranged into undulating loops and hypnotic near-repetitions.
Fans of the at times brutally loud but fiercely adventurous digital noise cassette and CDr community that upsurged after the year 2000 should be right at home on this disk, which reminds me equally of (ex-Wolf Eyes member) Aaron Dilloway's "Psychic Driving Tapes" or the works of classic Japanoise masters like Merzbow and KK Null.
Rhythmically processed static, field recordings and synthetic murmurs create a labyrinth of asynchronous layers, in which sounds are breathing and moving all about the listener. As with KK Null's work and the best synth sourced noise, the strangely pulsing rhythm is conjured by the beatings and modulations of the timbres themselves, rather than any kind of conventional percussive sound. In a similar way to many natural sounds, the listener is aware of a rhythm despite the lack of any actual grid-like consistency.
The insistent, piercing treble frequencies of this album create an immediate hypnotic effect on the mind. For it sheer abrasion, noise is one of the most intrusive forms of psychedelic sound and therefore one of the most powerful. Despite its unabashedly shrill onslaught, this recording invites me in, and distinguishes itself from so many meat-headed displays of harshness for its own sake. This album is well produced, in that the sound space is always filled with rich textures in diverse frequency bands, which are dripping with rich, high quality reverb, for a surreal 'sci-fi' feel.
Devoid of human reference points, the music has an intensely vertiginous 'out there' feeling. "Mouth of My Sky (Open up and Swallow Me)" is stripped back and empty compared even to the tracks at the beginning of the album, the only consistent sound being a haunted, vaporous iteration of a minor key chillout or dub chord, echoing endlessly across rustling, resonant gusts of windy filter sweep, less insistent as it murmurs into the distance.
The closest we get to any conventional forms of music are the glassy, transparent pads and accompanying minimalist piano found in tracks such as "Yugao". They feel as if transplanted directly early 90's space ambient music, and do a lot for the album's musicality, depth and emotional range.
In conclusion, this is an evocative and transporting bit of otherworldly noise texturing and loop work. Fans of KK Null or Coil's more abrasive side ("Constant Shallowness Leads to Evil") should investigate this. If you like music that pushes the boundaries of mind manipulation through the use of synthetic frequencies, this album is a highly effective space trip.Josh Landry