Saturday, June 28, 2008

Fossils - Empty and Marvelous (Housecraft CS)

Alright, now it's time for a bit of shameless self-promotion via Fossils. Seeing as how I just received this cassette from Jeffrey over at Housecraft Records, I figured it might be a good avenue to shove my band Herons' upcoming release down all of you fine readers' throats (it should be coming out sometime in August if all works out). There. That's all. Quick and painless. On to what you're here for.

I can't really figure anything out about Fossils other than their being (or one of them anyway, I don't even know how many members the group has) behind the great label Middle James Co. and being involved with both Offensive Orange and DueEastBySea. They've had releases all over the place, including a bunch with American Tapes, but I still can't decipher what the personnel actually is. Maybe the sounds reveal more than any name could...

Side one is a ripping, thirty-five minute grinding fuck fest. Full of vocals hacked to shreds, guitar bent to hell, and odd high-pitched drones, the whole thing is as full and noisy as I had hoped for. And yes, I've been referring to a lot of stuff on here as "noisy" that may not actually be so, but this fits the profile. Curdling its way along, the side just gets sourer as it moves from grim chasms of instrumental madness into hauntingly twisted squeals of static over the hushed screams of something exceedingly dark. Hair-raising indeed. Once in a while loops become apparent and electronic blips make their way across the barren sound world, but mostly its just hazy shredded stuff--is that whistle at the end the sound of a tea kettle through a processor or the blades starting up their daily routine down on the pig farm? Lies somewhere between Pluto and Planet X I'd say.

Side two is a different beast entirely though. Starting off with some kind of engine starting up before a hair dryer--Medusa's no doubt--blows across the space, the side features discernible vocal chatter as cracks enter in and out of the mix. Geese come and go over erratically placed blips and spurts of oil so thick it makes Exxon/Mobil look like Dasani. It's a dirty and slow start, lurching along in no rush to end the sublime submersion being attained. The birds are so out of place in this landscape that one starts to feel like they're coming from within, and the chattering is merely a snippet of a world we knew.

There are some serious ideas on here. The sound is so lo-fi and crude that it seems to at first lack detail, but there is immense intricacy here, and textures and shapes emerge over the course of the tape. Moving from the razor blades of side one to the pool of lukewarm lava on the second, the tape holds your head under good and long but, at least in this strange and melted world, let's you come up for air when the timing is right. Side two's dense underlying drone and scraping play with the all too familiar airport announcements and water fowl (foul?) to create a truly alien world and a highly distinctive sound. When a vocal is entered and slowed to the point of complete abstraction the bad trip only gets grizzlier, especially when the over the counter cosmetic store welcome is looped into oblivion. Could anything say "get me the fuck out of here" more? Welcome to the fried zone. Now bask in the blaze. A real beauty, and only limited to 48 so git up on it--it be a zonked one.

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