Deterritorialization - Cold Light [Neon Wall Series /Lurker Bias - 2016]Deterritorialization’s Cold Light is another entry in the Neon Wall series of tapes, coming from the Lurker Bias label. The previous two that I’ve heard, have pushed and stretched ideas of HNW, and these two tracks do much the same. Again, I am reviewing a digital version of the cassette, with two pieces, both around the 16 minute mark.
The first track, Uprooted, begins with a surge of noise, before collapsing down into a subdued churn. After another surge, the track settles into its pattern - and strangely, it really is a pattern. The wall (as such) bounces along on an odd rhythmic device - somewhat similar to the skipping effect of a CDR that hasn’t burned properly. It’s… well, it’s distracting really. The textures, as best as they can be heard, sound like they’d be effective walls, but the staccato lurching really does blunt their attack. Adding to this sense of rhythm and pattern, the ‘surge’ sound reappears frequently; a very nice, very short, piece of sound that’s akin to bricks falling. In the midst of all this, there are also strange synth/digital sounds - almost like sonic artefacts of the recording process; these are very nearly unsettling - menacing, even - but they don’t combine with the other elements to any great effect.
The Dismanteling Process, the second piece, again starts with a strong surge of noise; this time it moves, phases - there’s almost an electroacoustic quality to it. The track volume thereafter drops much lower, revealing an even more subdued state than the first track. This, too, shares those strange synth-like moans - often they sound like chairs scraping on the floor. The wall, whilst not exactly washy, is perhaps ‘distant’; there’s very little detail to be found in the textures, very little defined crackle. There might be a clue to this at the 9:32 mark, when a sudden ‘click’ invades the sound-field; it carries ‘room sound’ with it, perhaps revealing that we are not listening to something recorded ‘line-in’, but in fact via microphone. This would account for the ‘distance’ I heard above (or might just be a massive misreading on my part.) The track is overwhelmingly static, but there are a few wind-like blusters later on.
As with the other Neon Wall releases I’ve reviewed, this is an unusual piece of wall making. It’s not entirely successful, to my mind, but The Dismanteling Process is most certainly cryptic - whether intentional, or nay. Uprooted does have the ingredients for a good track, but the rhythmic element doesn’t bring anything to the table; it acts as a distraction and a hindrance, really. However, again, it’s good to hear different paths being taken - even if they might not lead anywhere.Martin P