A few months ago I interviewed my friend, musician and tape label guru Joao Da Silva. He runs this tape label called Fabrica records who, thus far, specialize in a lot of ambient, noise and improvised music. He prints about 50 copies of each release, and from what I can tell, mostly trades with other like-minded individuals. Joao sent me two of the tapes and files for the third release as well. He did this kind of awhile ago and the tapes have sat on my desk since then. I have listened to them, several times actually, the problem is, I haven’t converted the tapes to digital yet and because all my musical interaction seems to be with some computerized machine these days, I never know when to start with this generous gift from Joao. And so I feel bad. But today, well today, is the day that I finally write about these releases. So hold on tight kids, it’s about to get awesome in here.
A note to the non-initiated. Yes, first of all, they are tapes that Joao is releasing. Amazingly enough, the tape format did not all together die out with the advent, replication and overproduction of the CD. Cassette tapes have become the cheap alternative to releasing a physical product that is more intimate. It’s like the half-brother of the LP. Still cool, but not quite as cool and you can totally get them cheap. Music that is beyond underground generally relies on tape as it’s form of distribution. Partly because it is obscure and a listener really has to go out of their way to hear the music and part to intentionally obscure because the listener has to actually own a tape player. Which I do. Two of them. I am cooler than you are.
However, this should not be a lesson about coolness, underground and outsider art or cassette tapes. I only bring it up because people still question their existence. On to the music. Joao’s first release was Luciernaga, Life Passes Away Like Idle Chatter, which is the product of Mr. Da Silva’s own doing. It is a collection of found sounds, guitar drones and other oscillating noise pieces. It’s actually pretty chill and atmospheric. Sometimes when I listen to it, I kind of forget all the noise in my head and let the drifting, almost quiet take me away. And by quiet, I mean the peace in my head. The sounds on this tape are sharp and clear, amazingly so for the format.
Covered in Diamonds and Jewels is the work of Adrian Varallyay, who I saw once play in this space rock duo called Brontosaurus. The shit was kinda out there, and his collection of noise, found sounds, and electromagnetic manipulations are pretty awesome. There are a lot of disconnected voices weaved through the layers of distorted keyboard and electronic sounds. Some that feel like they are from old instructional LP’s you would now find in the dumpster of the public library. Varallyay, I assume, runs even these warped, monotone voices through a processor. Each track kind of builds its way from light bits of plunking, random, chaotic noise. Even the presence of fretless bass provides little in the way of rhythmic guidance. There are elements available here that you might hear in Zomes, but instead of linear patterns and structure, you get mostly get random, ugly sounds. It’s a totally tripped out experience, otherworldly like the aforementioned Asa Osbourne project. It will take you out of the moment you are in. Also, flip the tape over, hear the whole thing in reverse.
Rounding out my experience was Factions, whose Fabrica debut Cold Light Emissions is so aptly titled, it’s almost frightening. It’s kinda like if you took out all the guitar, drums and bass from Explosions in the Sky and just left the one dude on the floor playing with all the guitar pedals. It’s a lot of long, lush and lovely hums and bursts of noise. This release is also epic in proportion, spanning over 40 minutes of this dark-like-space kind of sound creation. That’s truly what this is too, is creation. It’s the perfect soundtrack to fall asleep to, not because it’s boring, but because it is absolutely meditative and soothing.
So here we are, months after getting this music, I finally talked about it. You really need to go and visit the website and try to get your hands on some of this stuff. I know, I know, your old, you want your Lady Gaga because she’s so weird and out there and your Glee because that’s all so precious and easy on the ears. YOU’RE OLD. GIVE YOUR MIND A WORK OUT FOR ONCE. CHALLENGE YOURSELF. Get into the ambient, get into the noise, get into the art of sound. You’ll be surprised and you will probably want to send me money for it too.