Friday, February 25, 2011

Funny Review of Brombron 16

We have heard from the American tape-artist Jason Zeh before, and I seem to recall he was muchly preoccupied with taking cassettes to pieces and obsessively working what sound he could from the discombobulated components, exposing the mechanics of the process and resuscitating sound from near-dead materials. On Dots (BROMBRON 16), he's doing similar process-based actions with a collaborator Ben Gwilliams, and for nearly 50 minutes they offer a collection of aural events produced from tape and "related machinery", which may refer to capstans and other moving parts of tape decks, while the magnetic tape itself is bombarded with nine types of Merry Heck - punctured, heated, frozen and anything else that might tend to damage or degrade the sensitive surface. I'm probably making it sound a bit too violent, because what you actually hear on the disk is mostly very gentle - a muffled and unobtrusive series of non-musical bumps and judders, assembled with no apparent structure or order. That said, there are a couple of eventful noisy squeals in the middle, and the work peters out with a nondescript ambient drone for its final fifteen minutes. I am slow to see the appeal of this work, I must admit, but hard-core fans of minimal process art should find it satisfying on some level.
Ed Pinsent

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