“Buff Nape”, just like so many other releases, came into my life one night after some random browsing of recommended Twitter accounts. While not life-shattering, the encounter was enough to merit a review of its own….
Shredderghost is Ian Franklin and “Buff Nape” is just the latest in a long string of releases he produced in 2015 (Ian also records under his own name and in collaboration with fellow artists such as Jamie Orlando). The first track (Flowering Stone) haven’t made much impression on me, but by the second track (Dolichonyx) I was hooked.
There’s a certain strange aura that is coming from that track is hard to put into words, but it certainly draws you in (points of reference include Coil vs. Elph, Mille Plateaux and/or Markus Popp/Oval output). For 12 minutes of minimally varied ambient/drone it works amazingly well – the character and the magic are definitely there.
Most of tracks on “Buff Nape”, however, fail to capture that same character – they either go on for too long (Flowering Stone) or end abruptly before they can develop something special (Interlude 1). Perhaps the problem lies not in the record itself, but the fact that unvaried/minimal ambient and drone presented on “Buff Nape” seems to largely rely on chance – plenty of room for quirkiness but also the avoidance of traditional musical tropes doesn’t always seem to serve it well.
With all this being said, however, both “Buff Nape” and Shredderghost back catalog are well worth the exploration – good drone/ambient record is not easy to make (for the reasons outlined above) and even one or two outstanding tracks mean that the record is worth its weight in gold.