A Journal Of The Dark Arts
Release Date: 1.13
RIYL: Brian Eno, The KLF, Deathprod, Klaus Schulze, Ekoplekz, driving at sunrise
Imagine a long weekend. You are looking forward to escaping the grind of city life, driving into the countryside for some much needed rest and recuperation. It is still dark as you finish packing the car, flick on yr headlights, and head for the hills. You can hear only the lulling rhythm of tires on cracked asphalt, and the quiet respiration of yr sleeping passengers. Dawn is on the horizon, as you enter the claustrophobic confines of a tunnel. Yr tires catch corrugated steel as the air-conditioning fills yr cabin with a claustrophobic whine.
Emerging from the tunnel, you are surprised to find the day has been rewound, and has been plunged into a second twilight. The air swirls with mustard green fogbanks, as single-engine planes leave criss-crossing chemtrails overhead. Yr not sure what’s happened, but it looks like the end of the world. As the fog begins to clear, you catch a glimpse of unexplainable clusters of colored lights.
On The Ever-Present Hum, a micro-release on the British cassette label Tapeworm, the shadowy Head Technician of Pye Corner Audio has created an abstract, metaphysical road-trip album. Like Kraftwerk or The KLF‘s Chill Out, The Head Technician uses his arsenal of analog synthesizers to recreate the sensation of driving down an open road, with a minimal set-up of two synths and a delay pedal that THT uses for live seances.
This is how boomkat describes the action:
Using a relatively stripped down set-up of a looping delay pedal and two synthesizers, he weaves gaseous harmonics and delicious, wavering melodies breathing slow and heavy with dusty particulates on the first side. A barely detectable subbass oscillation gives some sense of forward motion (or is it reverse?) while his patient strokes gently colour the atmosphere much in the manner of his live shows, evolving to a near sacred finale of woozy organ chords. However, Part 2 feels very different; much darker. Hovering drones ice out any warmth on a glacial, psychedelic melt into the cosmic singularity, offering the lifeline of a sliver of melody to grab onto while the darkness spirals around us.
Despite all the apocalyptic imagery, The Ever-Present Hum is a mostly soothing listening experience; it starts off beatless, formless, with a subtle bass thump imitating tires on pavement. The only reason this release turns ominous is the machine hums and industrial drones, that create a dystopian sci-fi vibe. To these noise-addled ears, even Pye Corner Audio’s static sounds gentle.
After 2012’s relatively clean Sleep Games, on Ghost Box Records, its refreshing to see PCA return to their murky analog origins. All the frequencies are lovingly smoothed out, when transferred to tape, making The Ever-Present Hum a meditative, hypnotic affair, perfect for late night dérive or early morning beatification.
The Head Technician inspires us with what can be done within confines, with a limited analog toolbox that forces melodicism and musicianship. He has created yet another interesting and abstract interior film, to get lost and wander around in.
This release was ridiculously limited, and is long gone at the source, (yet another reminded to quickly grab up anything by either Tapeworm or Pye Corner Audio), so we encourage you to seek this out and hear it, anyway you can.