Open Colour (Histamine Tapes; CS/DL)
Mississippi sound project Blanket Swimming (Nick M.) has just put out their second release on this limited edition cassette (ed of 30) on Vermont’s slow-growing Histamine Tapes. It’s a dusty buzz Western guitar drone, layered with a slow-roasted harmony. Each track, Open Colour pts. 1-5 build on each other nicely in the chasm ‘tween shoegaze and industrial collapse. The is one of those ambient/noise records that often slips through the cracks because of its limited release, and even though this is on the darker side of the spectrum, don’t let it lose the light edge of your eardrums.
WARM DRONES + PEDAL TONES: From the looks of it, this handmade edition even sports multiple options when it comes to cover art, giving it even more of an underground art flair, “with hand cut j cards from Barre Granite Museum brochures.” Once into part three things become rapt with watery field recordings and a dynamic clash between layers, while maintaining a rather low, mostly ambient profile. It’s a stratified, flowing drone that has a scintillating improvisational quality. There are also distant bellowing vocal treatments which are like the ghosts of the Beach Boys’ past.
One thing I find most appealing on this tape is the collage techniques that blend the coherent edit with raw, physical, homemade manifestations. It’s as if I’m meant to hear the musicality while being allowed to see the seams, the process. But like all interesting compositions this only allows snippets to tease you, back and forth, playing on your sense of awareness and lightness of being simultaneously. This set of treatments is most sublime on Open Colour pt.4 – a truly elusive and beautiful work, bathed in erosivity. There are a thousand voices built-in, based on introspection, memory. Finally on part five a forlorn set of drunken strings rise from the ashy drone, eclipsing the mood like a lullaby for the dead. It’s timbre is ambiguous, it’s pace is all forward motion, like a river running dry into the freeze of Winter.