Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ophibre / Hunted Creatures - Split (Oph Sound CS)

If I recall correctly, I mentioned in that last Ophibre review from Brainwashed that there was more on the way. This is more, and it's here. Ben had told me he'd be sending me some stuff, but when I got this tape I was floored. This beautiful textured paper tied with a rope encasing a transparent print with a tape inside? Put a shiver in me timbers, you know? It's the sort of mystery that too often is lacking with this stuff, and a lovely display of how packaging and music can combine into something greater than the sum of its parts... lovely.

As for the sounds, the first side is Ophibre's, and he opens the tape with a typically cavernous and slow-moving drone work called "A Harem of Moths." Rossignol really gets the power that can be generated by stillness, and this work hovers somewhere between the folds of two parallel universes as it drifts ever outward. There's always a sense of enormity with his stuff, as each sound is intricate and thick, but there's never an overabundance of it, so you really have the opportunity to find the different crevices and let them work their magic. Careful combination of barely perceptible high end weave about above vast stretches of didgeridoo monolith drones. Beautiful, heavy and mature in its vision, as is typically the case with this material.

The second side of this pairing presents Hunted Creatures, which I believe is Pittsburgh's Ryan Emmett. Practically anything would sound mobile next to Ophibre's work, but Hunted Creatures fits snuggly in there, presenting two tracks. The first, "Live at Brick Bat Books 8/22/08," has hovering bass dornes intersecting with high end bat (fitting...) cries and chirps that maneuver about quite nicely above the bestial undertones. Nice washes come and go, but this too has a distinct patience and caution about the sounds used, especially when he takes the drone back down to nearly nothing, leaving only a slow bass pulse and slight gestures. It's nearly ritualistic sounding, and one really gets the sense that he's closing the piece with a clear sense of story. The second track, awesomely titled "Himalaya of Skull," is equally vast and well crafted.

Too often drone works fade in, do their thing, and fade out, but both of these guys have a real grasp on how to structure this sort of sound. While Ophibre creates it and then more or less lets it be, Hunted Creatures brings in an unexpected sense of musicality and implores sounds and approaches not usually used in these contexts. The result is a beautiful tape that surely demands ample flippage. Killer.

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