Neighbor’s Nightshade - Neon Origins [Neon Wall Series /Lurker Bias - 2016]Lurker Bias presents Neon Origins by Neighbor’s Nightshade; another installment in their Neon Walls series. As mentioned in previous reviews, the gist of the series is simple: ten cassettes from ten artists, limited to 10 copies a piece, the only guiding concept is Neon Walls. Featured artists include: Cory Strand, Shurayuki-Hime, New Class Identities, and other familiar (and not so familiar) wallers.
On this outing we have 2 walls by Ryne Barber’s Neighbor’s Nightshade project. Barber, you might recognize, is the mind behind: Hearse Fetish, Tomb of Trinkets, Lurid Hallway, and the long-running Memory Wave Transmission blog. I’ve haven’t explored this most recent project, but have liked his work with Hearse Fetish, so consider me intrigued.
Neon Origins contains 2 side long walls. Unlike the 2 previous Neon Walls releases I reviewed, this Neon Origins contains 2 independent tracks, rather than a single wall split to fit both sides of the cassette. Track 1, “Morris Travers,” is a dense slab of broken static, all chopped and choked, with crispy crackle and pops trailing off. One time I had the opportunity to see a foley artist produce the sounds thunder on a piece of sheet metal. The sounds the foley artist made flexing and banging the sheet metal, for some reason, reminds me of the core of this wall. This drones on as a fixed block of sound for about 10 minutes, where the track gets a sudden bass boost. The piece morphs into a juddering bassey mass, losing much of the character from the preceding 10 minutes.
On the flipside we have “William Ramsay.” This wall is a completely different animal. The wall unfolds with a thick exhaust-like, amplified airconditioner sound. Cut through the sonic fog and I hear what sounds like looped scrap metal rustling, scraping, and knocking about. It all sounds slightly blown out and muddy. Mid-way through, the scrap metal sounds recedes into sparky static, not unlike an amplified sparkler. The metal sounds bleed through again as he wraps things up and a last minute burst of ramped fury closes things out.
By the way, if you are wondering about how those track titles connect to the given theme of neon walls; William Ramsay and Morris Travers were chemists who discovered the element neon. Yes, even wall noise can teach you a thing or two.
Neon Origins is another solid entry in the Neon Walls series. While I favor the first track a bit more (it just had a sound profile a little closer to my listening palette), I like that he provided 2 separate, distinctive walls, rather than just splitting it down the middle to accommodate 2 sides of a tape. If you dig Hearse Fetish or any of Barber’s other works, Neon Origins is definitely worth your listening consideration.Hal Harmon