Thomas Bey William Bailey | la production interdite
Elevator Bath (CS/DL)
My Austin neighbors (down the road a piece from muddy Ft. Worth), Elevator Bath, have released the latest from psycho-acoustic sound artist, Thomas Bey William Bailey, with his new limited edition tape (only 50!) – la production interdite. Consisting of one self-titled half hour long track per side, they have distinct variations as I flip through. Starting with la production interdite (instrumental mix) you are immediately transported to a tunnel of moving drone. Bailey accomplishes this by wielding “a full complement of analog and digital tools, including the famous Buchla modular system at Stockholm’s EMS studios.”
In what sounds like a rhapsodic windstorm he manages to contort by way of twisting, flapping, untangling, straightening the acoustics in an otherwise very physical composition. While that sense of mystery and play drifts, other acoustics recede into the eye of this sound effects storm. Frequency distortions, motorized purr and ghostly essences rise and vanish. The artist’s fifth full length record since 2009 has him defining his style (despite the whole genreless thang), in peak form.
And beyond the broader space-filling scope of Bailey’s sound it’s the moments in repose, the ellipses of quietude, that draw the ear’s curiosity. Washes of sonic buzz marry with a matte backing that allows the picture to shift at will. It’s somewhere between industrial bliss and the cosmic ramblings of a ‘madman’ in the making. He’s not incapacitated, nor angry, rather lost in this sensitive, visually imaginative world where he takes no prisoners, but where he readily takes his listener on the same journey – so buckle up.
It’s post-ambient infused with a sizzling electromagnetic flair just this side of the blood moon. The composition is filled with a bloated recycled air: holding, releasing, repeating. The cycle takes us up, way up, navigates an unstable holding pattern, and lands ever so gingerly. The last seven or so minutes are blissful and filled with erudite effects that are both cragged and sublimely deconstructed. Space music, redefined.
Side two is basically a vocal treatment rift on the same composition, la production interdite (vocal mix). The front end a bit harsher than the flipside, one can hear the tender piano melody and gentle scraping effect as a metaphor for starting from scratch, anew. Instead of lapping waves here we have soundwave distortions and the spoken word, going on about the shortcomings, and/or the resilient possibilities of the human mind. Bailey’s quotations come off like a science professor orating from a textbook.
All the while microsounds scratch and burrow in teeny tiny explosions. The vocal treatment speaks of the study of the roles of psychology, dopplegangers and sensory motor. This piece stays within the walls of industrial noise than the instrumental version, with far more ranging frequency blur and tonal gymnastics. In totality this recording would make for an incredible a/v experience. The sonic sculpting is uneasy listening, yet finds its shape as it metamorphosizes before our ears.