Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review: No Mind Meditation - Face Skull Spirit (GoldTimers Tapes, 2011)

No Mind Meditation is a project I know nothing about but which keeps surprising me with its intricate, hard to categorize sound. I already posted the free download of Paramita not long ago, which clashed with the guy from Gold Timers Tapes sending me a bunch of cassettes (thank you!), including No Mind Meditation’s Face Skull Spirit. Already on Paramita I was enthralled by the rich and textural sound, but on Face Skull Spirit they (he? she?) reach(es) new heights.
The entirety of side A (both sides are untitled, seamless entireties filling the tape pretty much to the brim) is an electronic sculpture which can be best compared to Autechre’s endless remixing/reconstructing of 2008’s Quartistice. Yes, I just compared a tape release to the fucking Autechre. That HAS to mean something, eh? No, seriously, it’s that good. It’s a slow burner for sure, and it takes a while to get into. The sound is very abstract, the synthesizer explodes at a seemingly random moments, everything else is reduced to weird and otherworldly background ambience, complete with washes of white noise and echoing high pitched pulses. But once you get into the sound, this initial mess just clicks, there is no turning back. On side A No Mind Meditation managed to create a digital painting in the style of the Masters themselves. Congratulations.
Side B attempts to do the same, but with “real” instruments – namely, the acoustic and the bass guitar. The acoustic initially attempts to catch a rhythm, going through a plethora of more or less successful American Primitivist-styled improvisations while the bass guitar strums randomly in the background. But around the 5 minute mark, a breakthrough happens: the bass guitar begins to create a recognizable, looped melody, while the processed guitar and gentle electronics create an ambientalized psychedelic summer jam, a sort of prediction on what chillwave might have sounded like if it did not rely so much on 80’s synth pop.
Face Skull Spirit is definitely a slow-burner – it might demand a few, or even a several repeated listens to finally click. But when it does, boy, is it a jam!

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