evenings - descending coma (monorail trespassing, 2007)
a tape i picked up at the suggestion of jon borges (monorail trespassing) on the latest vasculae engagement in oakland. i'm unfamiliar with evenings other than this tape. took me awhile to get around to listening to it, as they say. admittedly, the artwork (mostly black with a woman's face barely visible) didn't grab my attention as much as the other titles i acquired at the show, so it sat patiently for a couple months. as it turns out, patience is a big part of what this tape seems to be about, and the art aesthetic and titles make sense, especially when one opens to the interior of the tape to find a collage of foliage. the other day, i threw it on my walkman on a whim with some cheap headphones while walking around my neighborhood. i was expecting either drone or harsh noise. this tape is both, in a sense, but also totally unlike either. the sound is almost entirely comprised of a crumbling, bass heavy avalanche in slow motion--crackling/simmering high and midrange, and extremely low bass sludge underneath, like harsh noise slowed down a few thousand percent. occasionally, there are wisps of resonant ambience on top but only in passing. nonetheless, these touches add quite a bit, implying expansive textures that might emerge from the suffocating deluge but never quite do. the sound constantly develops: sometimes quicker, as when a fault line slips, but mostly slower and geologically. in fact, geological is the best term i can come up with for this album--while the crumbling tones remind me of the frigid, glacial soundscapes of thomas köner minus the dark ambient keyboards, the sound on "descending coma" has an element of blown out, heaving immediacy absent from köner's work. it's not nearly as cinematic, musical and "epic" as köner or lustmord, which lifts a burden from the listener and allows for repeat listening (day one with "descending coma" involved least a dozen flips). i don't particularly feel like i've been on a journey or gone anywhere while listening to this tape, and it doesn't particularly conjure a scene for me either. the rawness and aggression of the work's extremely dense sonic pressures belie a subtlety and focus that demands less on the ears than other types of noise, giving this tape a functionality i might associate with ambient music, or forms of noise that can exist without active listening. speaking of listening environments, after listening through 2-3 times on said walkman about town, i did a few spins on my home stereo and thoroughly enjoyed the bass-heavy experience. later, i tried it on a tiny portable boombox that pretty much cuts everything under 700 hz and still found the noise powerful--the static flecks of dirt fluttering through the speaker implied the heavy churning movement underneath. indeed, much of the power of this album is the ability it has to create the illusion of sounds that don't exist, either because they are too low in frequency or are glimpses of textures that might exist within the churning storm. this tape is very functional, begs for creative listening, and offers a highly aesthetic, isolating style of noise that resonates with me deeply. it might be a fun tape to check out on one of those rumbling gaming chairs, but that's probably unnecessary.