Vagrant - Canal [Moral Defeat - 2017]From early 2016 here’s a C30 tape release from Vagrant- the ‘static noise meets barren techno’ project of long running & highly prolific French noise scenester The release came in both a physical & digital form- I’m reviewing the physical release.
The plain white cassette comes in a monochrome single sided sleeve. This takes in a selection of murky & lo-fi pictures of moths, caterpillars & bugs. The release came in a edition of 32 copies, which are now long sold out from the label- but the digital version is still available from the labels band camp site here.
The release just takes in two untitled track- one of each side of tape. And really what we have here is techno at its most stripped, skeletal, stark, and barrenly repetitious. The first sides track brings together just a constantly thumping & fixed beat; this is edged by this crinkling ‘n’ crisp minimal pattern. The whole track is both washed-out & bleak in it’s unrelenting stabbing structure. As the track progresses the crinkling element seemingly gets more spread-out & hazed at the edges, but I’m not sure if this is an a sonic trick, and in reality the whole thing is just complete set though-out it’s full runtime.
Flipping over to the second side, and we have the other untitled track. And this is really the sonic twin to the first side’s track- as it once again brings together a similar stabbing beat structure with a minimal & fixed textural detail. This time the beat is seemingly a bit tighter & even more stabbing in it’s repetitive hacking- around this we have a stark 'n' rotating static crackle. This sides track feels both more urgent & tense in its feel- with both elements nicely create quite a disorientating audio thaumatrope like effect. So one often thinks it’s either slowing down, speeding-up, or the two elements melding…but I think in reality the whole thing is very firm in its structure.
Both tracks here are worthy & captivating examples of this project brand of minimal techno- though I’d say of the two the second side is my favourite as it’s both tensioned yet subtle disorientating in it’s feel. This is the second release I’ve heard from this project after the self released CDR IV, and I do hope there is more in the pipeline.,Roger Batty