CASSETTE CULTURE LIVES! On June 20 Sicilian sound manipulator, Skrima, will release his Tapes (Disasters By Choice; LP/DL). This EP is a true original, delivered on white wax in an edition of 200 with handmade sleeves of epoxy and volcanic materials by @Kolatadesign. Originally recorded between 1981-83 (w/added effects circa 1983-86) the record was reworked in 1999 and mastered this year. At first you are in a world of old soundtrack tapes, rolling on its spindle with a partly petered out warp, a mechanical problem meets desiccated orchestra.
It’s corrosion capture along the lines of what William Basinski perfected with the Disintegration Loops back in 2001-03. It was actually inspired by the film Diva by physically manipulating the cassette material with sandpaper and cotton. Tune Casio sputters as Skrima takes advantage of domestic noise, reshaping it into an early form of microsound that existed long before the Trente Oiseaux, Raster-Noton or Plate Lunch imprints were born. The light harmonies are vaguely audible amid the circular percussion. You can stream this on Spotify, YouTube, Play Music or Deezer now.
Then Tick Soul utilizes the reverb of bass through a EkoMultitone in what ends up sounding like a watery Spaghetti Western as heard through a series of scrims. The treatments make the atmosphere peculiar, in variegated grays. For the remainder of the record he created field recordings in a variety of volcanic crevices to grab the rumble of activity of natural forces. He shares:
“Ever since I was a child, I have been fascinated by the far off, faded, almost muffled sounds, melodies and harmonies coming into my room from outside sources. I would record these sounds, with a recording device and microphones of various quality levels, and then modify them with various effects over many years – this was my secret passion.”
The Roman label that is releasing this hasn’t put out anything since 2012, so they obviously saw the importance of bringing a true “lost tape” back to life. These final twelve minutes on the triptych of tracks Iddu, Eetnaa and Vacuum, end up being a sensitive ambient exploration of copious layered pedals and sweet keyboards, encrusted in some form of detritus, and a thumpy atonal beat. Though the original raw recording echoes through the more than thirty years since inception, the surface here comes off as something quite fresh and timeless. The ending brings mystery to bear.