Yesterday was a great day for mixtapes. First, 18+ released their incredible third release, MIXTAP3, and then Susan Balmar, expert beat-/noise-/drone-maker, released his umpteenth mixtape/mini-album/.zip/whatever-the-fuck. While it’s never been 100% clear to me exactly the rationale behind Perry Trollope’s many monikers, his Susan Balmar pseudonym has been sticking as of late, with his CCG release having come out under the name late last year and now PALCNA, which is undoubtedly his strongest statement and most engaging release to date.
One could trace the songs back to other monikers — “cmcl / bail” sounds like Warm Thighs, “psl” like 0000-A70U-0075, etc. — but the continuities between the projects exist in such a way that formal distinctions, including genre ones, ultimately feel superficial and besides the point. The metallic soundscrapes; the stuttering, muffled beats; the idiosyncratic appropriations; the warm yet distanced harmonies; the cartoonish beat drops — they’re all here, and they all coexist in a wonderful, hazy stew of warped melodies, wavering beats, and a luminescent core that’s continually shrouded in hiss/noise/effects. In fact, not a moment goes by when clarity and production are not being paradoxically undermined by Susan Balmar’s modus operandi, which is to heavily process, then to awkwardly regurgitate, where beats are left to fend for themselves and textural remnants from the procedure come out completely and utterly scathed. Add the relatively seamless flow and at times collage-style execution, and PALCNA makes for a particularly compelling experience, one that feels less transitory, less sketch-like than his previous releases. Check it out here:
Meanwhile, look for Susan Balmar’s split with the mighty LAMPGOD coming soon on up-and-coming label Bootleg Tapes. And if you haven’t already heard his stunning guest mix for TMT, GLUED TO WALL AS HEAD, TAR BODIES IN AFTERLIFE, I suggest you do so now.