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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

See Through Buildings - There Used To Be Water Here... [Fall Into Void - 2016]

Here is an ancient tape, released on Fall Into Void in 2016 no less - a lifetime in HNW! The yellow cassette holds two long tracks, both around the 50 minute mark, and both excellent pieces of wall noise. The long running See Through Buildings is the work of Ben Rehling, a prolific US noise maker with a multitude of projects. This release was an edition of 15 and it’s sold out in physical form, but it’s still available digitally via Fall Into Void’s Bandcamp.

The first track, "58 Parts Of Salt Per Thousand", begins with a steady, speedy, strong rumble - though once your ears get inside the wall it actually feels rather mid-paced. The first element added is a really lovely layer of treble crackle, manifesting itself in little splashes that dance across the top of the bass textures: it’s an incredibly effective passage and a strong start to the release. Later, after some turbulence in the lower frequencies, more mid-frequency layers emerge, thickening out the sound for the remainder of the piece. Eventually there is a sense of overload, and the wall starts to stumble and lurch under the weight of its own saturation (there were some points here where I felt the direction became lost, and I’ll admit my attention wandered a little). The end section has a buried melodic element, akin to a bass line, which slowly rolls along.

The second track, "Salinity Tipping Point", also starts speedy and strong, though this time with a much fuller sound; it soon develops into a steamroller of a wall, with a high-pitched - though not piercing - droning whine. Again, I can hear buried, muffled passages of music - though they don’t last long; these may be aural hallucinations, but they do sound like coherent musical segments. Like the first piece, a layer of mid-frequency noise enters after a while, again filling out the sound, but the noise here is a higher mid-frequency which increases the noisiness and abrasiveness of the wall considerably. At points during the second half of the track, you can just about pick out a nice, hesitant, jittery note very submerged in the mix; this skitters away rather like a machine being overworked, gently complaining. The end passage somehow conjures up very clear, distinct clicks which feel very separate from the wall; it’s an unusual effect which I can’t remember ever hearing before - but incredibly effective.

This is a solid release on a solid label that, in my opinion, doesn’t always get the attention it truly deserves (much like Void Singularity Recordings). On the first track, See Through Buildings pulls off the always desirable double act of combining a static feel with minor developments - a sweet spot that I really appreciate. The second piece is more genuinely static, but just as rewarding - especially the odd clicks at the finish. As stated earlier, this is sold out at source, but I recommend it as a deep, immersive listen.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Martin P
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