Lord of Overstock – The Early Sleep
This record is an exercise for me. I have a tendency with music to guess what is going to happen next, because I’m a musician and it pleases my brain. I can’t do that with this album, and it’s a difficult habit to stop.
Cordite Tracker (aka Lord of Overstock) is constantly subverting your expectations. The album opens up to sounds of some unspeakable horror, where everything is dry and dessicated and it’s all gasping for breath. As you steel yourself for a trip down an ugly rabbit hole you quickly find that most of the record is actually deeply introspective, and an unplaceable genre of music that’s mesmerizing.
Some of the songs on this record are the best pieces I’ve heard in months, whereas other ones frustrate me with their more elusive melodies that constantly dance in the shadows. They’re all pushing just past what I want them to be in my narrow mindedness, but it’s better that way. Sometimes music is supposed to challenge you.
Naturally my desire is to get all the beautiful parts without any of the ugly parts but that isn’t how life is, is it? Life is about learning to appreciate the ugly parts. Some tracks start off as frustrating and soon the frustrating bits become the focus that you miss once they’re gone. The way you get used to people’s individual foibles faults and habits you used to find annoying. When that person isn’t there those are the parts that you always remember.
All the instrumentation is recorded using lo fi techniques, which gives everything a sort of lonely vibe that I am definitely into. Underneath there is this swelling noise that’s threatening to overtake you, forcefully asserting its existence. This entire record dances on the edge of everything I want, but what I want doesn’t matter. He reaches that place a few times only to cast off your expectations like some jacket he’s decided he doesn’t like. Everything was over so much faster than I wanted it to be, I needed more of this, but demanding it wouldn’t get anywhere..
This collection of songs affected me the same as when one starts growing accustomed to a person, taking that person for granted, and then missing them once they’re gone. Realizing that you’ve overlooked all the things you cared about, and instead were focused on the things you didn’t. The description reads “Nine tracks of ambient electronics, with an accompanying short story.” I haven’t read the short story, and I don’t know if I want to now that I’ve attached my own. I’m not sure it will be as much of an impact as what the music has already done. This record improves upon repeated listens. Buy the record, support Lord of Overstock. He’s doing very good work.
Muddy Wires – A Plunderphonic Reanimation of Listening Woman’s None-A-That-Stuff!
I am incapable of making plunderphonics / I make plunderphonics all the time.
A PLUNDERPHONIC REANIMATION OF LISTENING WOMAN’S NONE-A-THAT STUFF! by James Staub or Muddy Wires is a hyperactive record, and it uses this hyperactivity to interweave these nearly cacophonous patterns with one another into a quilt of texture and sound. It’s plunderphonics in its purest form.
There’s a transition on track one A Placated Knee’s Nettings that invokes a feeling of impending dread for me, but at once breaks into something that comes closer to mental fog and confusion. I’m going along with James Staub who is sharing the results of an operation not entirely without pretension, as he explores what places these snippets can take us.
Track 3, A Cemented Sinus Noun A Cad Evergreen, Nine Gyms Town 2,740 / Bitch Wit 8, reminds me of a time I once smoked DMT by myself, and then decided to take a walk. I walked until I came to a deadfall. I climbed (and fell off) this deadfall repeatedly for 20 minutes in a misguided attempt to climb over it for some reason. When I came to my senses I was exhausted and covered with small scratches/scrapes. I turned around to walk 5 minutes back to my house thinking about what just happened and vowing to never smoke DMT alone again. With this contemplative ending it’s a perfect anecdote for this song. By its end you’re left sitting there, bleeding from a hundred small scratches, pondering what just happened to you.
Following this track is A Placated Knee’s Owl Nettings Encircle As Turmeric, which hits me in a fucked up way, and reminds me of a dog yelping in pain. Everything on this record is fractured, broken, and rearranged. It’s the audio equivalent of creating a tile mosaic where you smash everything into random pieces and using those pieces to make another whole, which plunderphonics is striving for this as a musical genre. Track 6, Ed’s Pink Rig, explores the underlying procedure more, like he’s showing you how this happens. This track is definitely the most “musical” so far, but it’s actively decaying into fragments to match what was used to build everything else. Meanwhile we’re being led into the closing track Twit On Hotcakes, which returns to its fractured and hyperactive form.
This album makes me want to see a performance of it badly. To sit in a coffee shop among my fellow pretentious assholes as we watch a person weave a tapestry of sound from music that’s been ripped to shreds. To experience it less as a piece of music, and more as a piece of art. As far as a source, he’s exploring spaces provided by the origin album, “none-a that stuff!” by Listening Woman, originally released by Friendship Tapes. It’s an avant garde jazz record that’s part musical appreciation, part performance art. I would have loved to see this live too, hopping around from genre to genre. Expressive vocals spouting these surreal snippets of lyrics. Definitely an interesting piece from which to create a sound pallette.
The term plunderphonics originates with John Oswald’s Plunderphonic EP, but earlier examples of these same techniques exist. My view is that plunderphonics as a genre is a continuation of the evolution of foley art. Early Warner Brothers Looney Tunes soundtracks were using foley art to explore creating music using a similar method, applying disparate sounds into a larger whole. Plunderphonics turns this entire concept on its head somewhat, and creates something slightly left of music yet made with musical pieces. Plunderphonics is the chicken nuggets of music. Grind up everything into tiny bits, and press them into “familiar shapes” for simpler palatability. Unfortunately not everyone will be able to palate it due to the nature of the exercise, very much like actual chicken nuggets. Since it’s by design a pink slime of sound we’re being presented on purpose, I dip my nugget brain into some sauce and bite into it contentedly.
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