Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Andrew McIntosh reviews the Regosphere - Like Surgical Steel cassette.....

Written by Andrew McIntosh for Special Interests.
REGOSPHERE, Like Surgical Steel, cassette
Husk Records, 2010
Not quite “dead” enough to be Death Industrial, certainly not flamboyant enough to be Harsh Noise, in a time when sub-sub-sub categories rule Regosphere sits uneasily. Here, though, Andrew Quitter does lean more to the former than usual. This album, released for a US tour, features the title track, a one-sitting home recording without overdubs of material played live on the tour. The theme of the album being the now legendary BP oil spill in the Gulf Of Mexico. The titular track on side one blending carefully modulated hissing layers of white noise with slow pulsing synth tracks together before relaxing down, then building up again to the sounds of more synth pulses and background siren sounds, which themselves fade out to make room for a soft, clunking metallic rhythm and yet more hissing, grainy static. It's the second part of this I think works the best; the first part is evocative but the second works more aesthetically. Throughout the whole, though, there is a precise pacing and a nice, relaxed under-use of sounds as opposed to flogging things to death. In fact, it sounds very much like a live piece, in that the various elements are introduced, used and then faded out more robustly then one normally would with the luxury of time at home. However it's not cluttered with a million ideas, rather it's a specific, conceptual spiral. Side two continues the imagery with “Bottom Kill”, based on sickly sounding synth pulses and muggy rushing sounds which are difficult to determine; the mix is somewhat more one dimensional but the end effect is more psychedelic and suggestive, yet more immediate. To me it sounds more like a prehistoric swamp than a modern ocean floor ruined by crude oil. It's a somewhat hypnotic listen. The rhythmic pulsing of the static sounds, which suggest shortwave radio rather than synth white noises, come in later in the track after their sedimental surrounding of the whole. A more defined keyboard chord heralds “Tar On The Beach”, a sinister, movie-soundtrack anti-melody backing the scratching hiss and odd chiming sound that all feels covered with a mucky film of scum. The rushing ocean sound is dominant here. The distracting, psychedelic hypnotism of the former piece is carried on here. Both these spirals have an odd “not quite there” quality which, if listened to softly in the right light, could well replace drugs.

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