Gesis - i [Cascading Fragments - 2015]
Well, here’s a tape that comes via two excellent wall artists: Julien Skrobek and Greg Gorlen. Both are known for the individual paths they’ve cut through wall noise, and both continue to explore those paths. Skrobek’s Gesis guise provides the sounds here, whist Gorlen brings the distinctive artwork associated with his label - though the linocut which adorns the card tape sleeve is actually the excellent work of Emily Huston. The cassette has two tracks, one on each side, and both a mere ten minutes in length; both pieces are exemplary HNW.
Side a is formed around a nice, warm - even wet - mid-frequency texture, pushed along by a lurking bass underneath. Over the top of this, dancing sprightly at the very extreme of the wall’s edges, are very delicate treble crackles. These are the pick of the textures, here. The overall feel is rather warm and inviting; despite the whole wall being quite fast-moving, it’s not aggressive to my ears. Side b, in contrast to the striking crackle of its sister track, is rather muffled, but this gives it a distinctive beauty of its own. The key feature here, is a high-mid frequency texture that brings to mind bricks - and falling ones, at that. Underpinning everything is a hollow sounding bass drone, whilst the treble that does escape the muffling is a pleasant rattling. Buried within the wall is a tonal drone, which appears to modulate slowly - though whether this feature was constructed by Gesis or my own brain, I couldn’t tell you. The atmosphere created is earthy, subterranean: a great wall in its own right, and made better by its contrast with side a.
There’s not a whole lot to be said here, really. Brilliant walls, by someone who incredibly rarely disappoints, presented by a label of the same quality. Naturally, of course, it’s sold out… However, the Cascading Fragments bandcamp will help you out there. Like much of Skrobek’s work, this is undeniably Harsh Noise Wall, but at the same time carving out a different space, convincingly and superlatively: he remains at the forefront of wall noise. The one obvious criticism to be made, is that the tape is just much too short…Martin P