Limited Edition of 43 green C44s: Individually dubbed. Enclosed in charcoal A1 baronial envelope. Hand-stamped w/ black ink typeset & wax-sealed.
2 x 3.5″ card w/ liner notes & unique painting by Cody Yantis.
3 x 5″ photograph.
Cody Yantis, working out of the Pacific West/NYC/Dublin borderlands, has released a handful of exploratory, spacious sounding cassettes and records – focusing on guitar and piano, drenched in echo, teetering on the edge of full blown drone (though a recent Seattle performance saw him channeling some Bill Orcutt-esque blue notes over a bed of crackle.).
This tape, in transparent green, is the first release on holyoak! resounding – a label dedicated to producing limited edition, handmade analogue objects. The desire to create something both special and tangible is clear here – each cassette comes with a unique painting by the artist, Cody Yantis, as well as a photograph and liner notes all resting nicely in a beautiful wax sealed envelope.
So, drones. Yes there is drone here aplenty – looped dunes of guitars, hints of reed explorations, bowed cymbals. Echoes of Indian modes abound, especially on the nine-minute Glyph. But are the drones here drawn from stasis, or motion? Are they monolithic holding patterns, or extended cycles of activity?
Well, to some extent, both… Rand, the opening track, starts with what sounds like a tuned tom, played with anxious fingers, while a sinister Rhodes-esque electric piano circles, single fingered, small note clusters. A sound like bare feet on sand punctuates the unease – a note of radiophonic foley, perhaps, but the central repeats are gradually overwhelmed by waves of ecstatic shards of guitar – sustained, wavering, the sound of a gentle jetfighter’s afterburn. A low roar rises steadily, and the drone envelops the original sounds – causing and emphasising the interactions of the frequencies between the two parts, even as it threatens to obliterate it. A fade to sustained guitar and crackle…
The fifteen minute Domestic Devotional almost feels it might be cut from the same cloth as Rand, but soon reveals a shifting play of layers. This isn’t volume and distortion as obliteration, but as colour, texture, and the overlapping lines of collage.
The repeats here allow the ears to focus on individual layers, flitting between filigrees of guitar. Like the mantra, the source of the sound soon becomes irrelevant (no ‘guitar worship’ in the traditional sense here), the mind sharpens, then opens up before the shifting din. Though there is subtlety here, the focus of dronework sharpens at higher volumes and the length here is perfect for the devotional experience aimed at by the title.
Glyph opens the second side with ringing filaments of cymbals and a saxophone that hovers on the edge of tonality. Here are drones opened out – stripped to component parts that orbit the heart of the track, which reveals itself half way through as bowed guitar waves, that rise to a vigorous sawtooth sound. The sound here, with the space between the lines, perhaps echoes a less jazz-steeped Graveyards, and is certainly just as rivetingly malevolent.
The closing track on side two, Elementary Husk is also the best here – a collage of hum, crackle and guitar spurt, some backwards bursts that resembles the collision of instruments and texture of Sonic Youth’s reading of Christian Wolff’s ‘Burdocks’ on their Goodbye Twentieth Century album – a drone splintered into atonal arpeggios. Six minutes in, this collage is buzz-sawed into by two full head-spitting, relentless drones, that rise and rise, and joined by a third, almost choral wave, bringing this excellent tape to a suitably ecstatic close.
C.Yantis – Box Elder, Cold Scholar (Limited Edition Tape) SALE:
- Item Price: £3.50
- Listed On: February 24, 2012