Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What Isn't In Between


I picked up Aaron Spectre's LP 'Lost Tracks' earlier this year (on Ad Noiseam), and totally intended to write about it. But having formed the intention, I must've felt I'd thereby exhausted it. So, big oversight...
I'm going from memory, cos the liner notes are in the CD which is in my other life daaan saaf. All I got here is my itunes and a bad record for recall. As I remember, the cover artwork is photos taken by Kevin Martin, (who I'm assuming is Kevin 'The Bug' Martin) - they're all haunting shots of the Lebanese state railway that's 'fallen' into disuse, to the extent that entire trees grow between the tracks. The first impression of the pictures are of charming light, only a second glance reveals the turmoil.

And that's a direct inversion of Aaron Spectre's usual output: raggasonic breakcore. His digi-grindcore Drumcorps guise (on CockRockDisco and Kriss) is all about the harsh surface impression. But Spectre's breakcore tracks (especially 'Evil Most Foul' on death$ucker) and general hard-styles outputs are essential listening for the very reason that there's loads going on in the interior, unlike some of his contemporaries. They bear repeated listening exceptionally well - the music doesn't give up its secrets, or become transparent or formulaic with familiarity.

So this release is quite an exception to his established output - it's not about savage dancefloor destruction, instead it's a kind-of meditation on consonance and conciliation. I read some reviews which drew comparisons between 'Lost Tracks' and Ulrich Schnauss's shoegazing styles. They both take warm, melancholy tinged motifs and wrap themselves up in sustained sounds that embrace and decay. But while Schnauss is into an MBV 'Loveless' wall/sound, Sceptre works out at a purer, clearer pitch. There's a track called 'Dulcimer', and features the bell-like notes of a dulcimer dropping like glass tears; fuzz free, crystal clarity. In fact, while there are crunching rhythms and dsp effects throughout the LP, the most pervasive and successful achievements are the melodies. Sometimes they're upfront, as with 'Dulcimer', cracking the surface. Else where they're diffuse, moving on top of tonal progressions, yet partially submerged within them. On this score at least, this LP brought The Durruti Column to mind, and I thought a Compare And Contrast could be informative:

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