HOWARD STELZER / PETER WRIGHT – Utsuro-Bune

Chemical Imbalance

When an album starts with sonorities reminiscent of a dozen squirrels shaken around by the spin cycle of a washing machine, it’s time to perk up the ears. Then again, after becoming aware of who is manufacturing those sounds one can safely lie down (just saying) and wait to be transported in situations very close to sensory deprivation. Which, in turn, determines the achievement of a sublime state of bliss. As I received the news of the first recorded collaboration between Howard Stelzer and Peter Wright, I instantly decided that the year 2020 was not to be thrown away in its entirety, after all. 

Wright stands proud among the most talented musicians in New Zealand’s history, and is an honorary dronemeister in my own gallery. Analogous esteem is reserved to Stelzer, probably the first man ever to have learned to use peculiarities and malfunctions of cassette recorders as a compositional and improvisational instrument. The combination, hear for yourselves, is explosively poetic. It’s a unique brand of poetry, made of monumental masses of smudged frequencies, sizzling tones, static hissing, suspended chords, domestic noises (including a cameo of Stelzer’s dog) producing an apocalyptic soundtrack for the utter loss of reason. In a positive acceptation.

Utsuro-Bune is a limited edition tape comprising four tracks – thankfully pretty long – that provide the best possible quality of oxygen to our breathlessness. We do not exactly understand the division of roles at certain junctures, although one imagines Stelzer having the more onerous task as far as “audio guerrilla” dynamics are concerned. Still, it’s not important to know who does what. Within these stacks of stretched notes, altered mechanics and melting fuzz there’s a sense of fusion of multiple harmonies that gets closer to the explanation of “universal connection” than a billion words. Sometimes a mute frustration arises in yours truly for the inability to list the fundamental values that get lost when following the rotten doctrine of one’s choice, rather than learning to discern the inherent richness of sound. Especially when that wealth is given as a selfless gift, without emotional blackmailing or psychological influence.

Masterpiece, with a capital M. Smear it in your personal infinity. Play über loud, and fuck the neighbors. This kind of brainwashing is healthy.

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