Tuesday, November 10, 2009

51717 - Sch (Gel CS)

Sequestered in my abode due to borderline dire health circumstances, but luckily healthy enough to take a minute to catch up on some long neglected merch that's been coming through. Wanted to start with this one, which I actually lay down the dollars for, but I haven't really heard much hype surrounding this label and I think it deserves some. Gel's run by former Racoo-oo-oon member Daren Ho, whose solo output as Driphouse has gotten some fond criticism, but everything else on the label seems like it's been largely ignored which has got to--GOT TO, I say--stop. From the production of these things--transparencies with print--to the sounds, the label's put out some monster stuff already.

This one is a real mystery from a band with a numeric name. Don't know anything about the unit other than the presentation here, but it's a real solid go of it. Stripped back high end oscillator stuff it sounds like, but real drifting and lilting--far removed from American Tapes high end pummel. Just little drippings and smatterings of elevated pinpoints on F.Y.P.P., which sounds like some beautiful and lush pop track if everything but the most frozen tones were stripped away and left for dead. "Trust Track" has a similar effect, ultra minimal cymbal smatterings over some dual chord synth and wordless mermaid wallowings. Anybody seen that newish Werner Herzog flick "Encounters at the End of the World." Good flick, but a lot of this stuff reminds me of the ultra haunting undersea seal screes that the scientists listen to, seemingly for hours, heads pressed into the ice in some proto-primitive ritual of Zen archaeology. Hey, how bout that?--thar she blows! "Like Pink Floyd or something..." Hmmm, I think not. But the frozen tundra idea is alive and well here, as is the isolated foreignness. Good god.

Flip side's got more offerings, including part two of the aforementioned "Trust Track," which is less bare but equally there. They seem pretty relentless in their refusal to build beyond skeleton structures here, and it's a fine resistance. Not much else is needed. And again, gotta go back to the fact these guys are largely working in a preconceived form--there's an element of new age fetishism here to be sure, but it's so controlled and weird that it changes things up to keep it mere ice crystals in the wind. Chilly in the way that heats my hearth slow and steady style. Even gets into some sawed off singer stuff, like some little girl's voice drifting into the netherworld as a saw's taken to her torso. Grim? Sure, but it's all air at the end of the day I suppose. Almost reminds me of Peaking Lights without the glow, or Pocahaunted with snow. Slow go bro. Whoa. And dig the drum machine weirdness on "Sma," bra. Special mention too of the art--the transparent element and black and clear color mode really fit the bill here in a way that goes beyond the tape "looking like" the music. All builds on itself for a super package. As with all of it really, so have a have.

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