KIM CASCONE – The Knotted Constellation

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Subtitled “Fourteen Rotted Coordinates” and dedicated to Throbbing Gristle’s late Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson, this 32-minute effort by Kim Cascone – of Silent Records and David Lynch fame – is a lucid dream for field recordings, electro-pollution and synthesis, consummately crafted via Linux-based software, recorders and microphones (everything is meticulously listed inside the digipak). Starting with a double whammy of studio-manipulated tolling bells, the “dystopian soundscape” continues with successions of semi-tangible acoustic environments, rather clear in terms of sound quality but not always readable as far as detecting the originating sources is concerned, unless the composer renounces to cryptic indications and explains what he means with “hospital gauze” or “circuit bent aether” (though one can indeed travel a bit with imagination). There’s a great segment in which we’re derided by what superficially appears as a cut-up texture of someone laughing, yet I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that those are warped vocal emissions by marine mammals or other kinds of honking animal instead (*). Elsewhere, listeners are treated with droning murk, resonant metals, strata of oxidized strings – supposedly, C. Spencer Yeh’s violin – washing waters on some shore, and further natural echoes and concrete noises by objects and settings whose essence is ambiguous more often than not. The difference from the hundreds of thousands of analogous releases lies – obviously – in Cascone’s receptive know-how, which turns average events into a deeper communication, enriching them with the type of unusual accidents and limitless visions that distinguishes the rare admirable specimens in the jam-packed district of acousmatic art. Something whispers to my ear that Nurse With Wound zealots might love this record.

(* in fact, they are slowed-down frogs taped in Istanbul, the composer dixit…)

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