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Charlotte Braun - Happy Being Sad [Geräuschmanufaktur - 2015]

Charlotte Braun is a new collaborative walled noise project, that brings together two of the scenes most creative & detailed textural noise creators. We have Uk’s James Killick(Small Hours, Love Katy, Flood, etc), and he’s joined by Canadian noise maker Chris Garant of Horrible Mess( whose 2013 release The Well was one of the wall-noise highlights of that year).

The project takes it name & influence from one of the minor characters in Peanuts- the celebrated comic strip/cartoon show which followed the adventures of Charlie Brown & his dog Snoopy.  In the strip Charlotte Braun was a highly dominating personality, who had an obnoxious & loud-mouthed voice- the character was fairly disliked by the public & only appeared in ten strips before mysteriously disappearing.

This release comes in two forms a digital download or a c30 cassette. I’m reviewing the cassette which features a single track per side of tape. It appeared in late May 2015 on the German noise/ experimental label Geräuschmanufaktur, in an edition of 35 copies, and as of writing the label still has copies of the tape left.

The  tape comes in a simple one sided colour sleeve which takes in a picture of a smiling Ms Braun on a black background, with the projects name & the releases title in white cartoon like text.

Each of the tracks featured here comes in around the thirteen minute mark, and first of these is Happy Being Sad - Part 1. This first track opens with a mixture of almost rhythmic juddering( this has a thin pulsing quality to it), which is edged by a muffled hissing. With-in a minute & a half the sonic picture has got a lot detailed & layered- with the addition of this looped clicking/ aquatic like texture, deeper layers of thumbed juddering, & looped snapping/ whisking texture. By around the 4th minute things have got even more detailed, dense, and even a little manic with the juddering turning into a more muffled & slightly dragging. In addition to this we have more layers of whisking/ clicking/ knocking added into the mix, and it just seems to build and build as it goes on with the pair expertly adding textural detail into the ticking mass of wall-craft.

Flipping over to side two, and we have Happy Being Sad- Part 2. This ‘wall’ starts off a little more dense than the first track, with a mix of the following elements- a faint & repetitive rattling static drag, a juddering metal rod like loop, and a few snapping sub-tones. At around the third minute  a selection of slowed snapping, clicking, and weathered textures can just be made out, and these add a great feeling of barren( yet very subtle) atmosphere to the proceedings.  At around the mid-way point the main/ originally elements are slowly drawn back & back into the mix, with the pair masterfully petering these back in wonderful ANW form. While this dip back carries on you can make out more clearly the  under textures, and these seem to now take on a mixture of complex foot-falls, drags, and clicks.  By around the eighth minute the original elements have been reduced to thin & crisp muffled patterns, as the small details seem to become enhanced & grow, so one can make out tinny aquatic judders, delicate rumbles, and all manner of micro detail taking in snapping, click, and mixture rattling. With the whole thing slow moving to complete silence as one texture after another is stripped back

All told this is a masterful conceived release, which shows both parties at the height of their textural powers. Hands down this is one of this years highlights, & to picking up a copy or download head over to here.

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

Roger Batty
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