♫♪  Joe Bastardo & Howard Stelzer - At Ease

You wake up in the interior of what appears to be a solid white cube. You see nothing but light. You hear nothing but the muted churning of your own internal organs. As if triggered by your awakening, the six surfaces of the cube begin to stream past you. Textures emerge from the seams where two planes meet: sticks caked in mud, sandpaper, ice, algae suspended at the surface of the lagoon. The stimuli scroll around and under your body. You feel them against your skin. You close your eyes again and the cube does not stop.

Joseph Bastardo runs the excellent tape imprint Moss Archive, performs solo as Bastian Void, and constitutes half of the duo Looks Realistic. Howard Stelzer has issued solo and collaborative releases on labels like NNA Tapes, Chondritic Sound, and RRRrecords. The two of them seamed their rigs together and composed the 56 minute stream of smeared synth tones, white noise, and corroded natural sound sources that is At Ease (available now from 905 Tapes), generating their unpredictable narrative arc of hallucinatory texture via randomized and improvised deconstruction of field recordings and tape collages through modular synthesizers. The tape’s stretches of hyper-detailed synth noise hum through your headphones or your speakers at such a high standard of abstraction as to make you scrutinize any semblance of discernible harmony or consonance as an outlier in an otherwise infinite wash of absence. But for all its abstraction, some performative gestures and flashes of the tape’s original source material flicker in the haze: knobs turned, patches activated, channels cut off, segments terminated, doors opened, the quiet shifting of chairs and feet against the wood of the porch.

Back in the cube, you have accepted this lifestyle. When the stimuli are present, you rejoice. When you are left alone with your own senses, you relax. You do not wonder how long you will be inside, as you no longer have a way to keep track of time. You do not fret.

• 905 Tapes: https://905tapes.bandcamp.com

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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