Connor Camburn of the Tailings label recently got in touch and sent over a small stack of cassettes and a photo book in the mail. It's very minimal (to its favour), but do check out the Tailings site here.
Tailings, also known as, slimes, leach residue, or slickens, are the materials left over after the process of separating the valuable fraction from the uneconomic fraction of an ore. Tailings is a collection of ephemera brought together by Katie McCarty and Conner Camburn.
We are physically located in Chicago Illinois.
Agnes - Night City
Cities have a distinct buzz about them. When I think of what a city sounds like I picture a beehive or a whirlpool, or anything that lends to the notion of incessant, swarm-like activity. More specifically, a city, especially at night, brings to mind the sounds of car engines, squeaking fan belts, and the cold and clinical drone of neon lighting. Though I've no idea who or what Agnes is, as info on the project is scarce, listening to this tape I hear the night city evoked through two sides of churning noise. The style is all locked-in arpeggiations that spout a swelling buzz of tones and down-tuned feedback. Sure, the consistency is there, but the sounds don't do a whole lot to excite. Occasionally, underlying textures try muscling their way into the plodding fore, but never make a significant enough impact to take the music in another direction. It sounds as though there exists a whole world of interesting sound trapped somewhere in the stew of Agnes's music, but only tiny fractions of that world ever get revealed. By no means a write-off, but I doubt I'll be coming back to this one.
Remnants - Elusive Infinite
A bit more info than the Agnes work tucked into the j-card of this cassette by the equally as mysterious Remnants outfit. However, even the adding of track titles and a release date doesn't shed much light on the work, and not until one peruses the label's website can it be read that the tracks here are the remains of a theatre production composed of tape loops and fractured viola segments (hence remnants?). The A side's "End of the Shuttle Program Pt I & II" begins with a static laden buzz-saw ebbing not unlike the commencing of all-too many noise tapes. This is, however, soon overtaken by a couple tape loop segments unfolding in succession, the second of which sounds like a short section of pitch-shifted classical music, and is particularly nice. A more blunt loop then becomes the focus of the remainder of the side, and while it's at first perhaps a bit lacking in nuance, it eventually becomes swathed in other sounds that do a good job in accenting it.
It is, however, the B side's two part "Amplified Strings" that brings things up a notch. I'm assuming it's the viola at play here, that at the side's start unfolds as a swirling bed of drones, slowly teeming to life as time passes. The music has a very cinematic quality, and though it was likely appropriate for whatever theatre production took place, the pieces work well on their own. The processing too, is also apparent, but the acoustic properties of the viola aren't drowned out, merely blurred. Nice work.
Black William - Nauric/Naural
I almost said pass to this tape of three live performances from Black William after an initial side A listen left little to desire. I'm still not all that sold on it, as it's the kind of ham-handed array of noise agitation that's full of stops and starts and is all-too prevalent in the place I call home. No, it was the flip's "Naural", recorded in the autumn of 2007 in San Francisco, that turned me into a believer of the music of Black William. It was a pleasant surprise really, that the A side's "Nauric" could be countered with a piece that puts much work I've reviewed on this site to shame. "Naural" is calmer, more repetitive of choice sections, and an all around more introspective piece. A part of me feels that it seems that much better only in comparison to "Nauric", but another part of me feels it's just that good. It could be a single loop for all I know, not too distant from NWW's Soliloquy..., and ending in a short burst of muted feedback reminiscent of Coleclough's Makruna.
Re.Pro.Cor. - Obsrob
Probably the biggest head-scratcher of these four Tailings releases is Re.Pro.Cor.'s Obsorb, which seems to have an overwhelming "found sound" element. It's composed of what could be sounds culled from the radio, or perhaps from field recordings or sound effects records. In all likeliness, it's probably made up of all of these. Though it's hard to describe, Obsorb is a kind of scattershot of low-fi sonic abstraction, always sounding murky but never overly meandering. The roughness of the scratchy drones bring to mind home-made contact mic recordings, a particular section reminding me of a recording I made of an electrical room door once. It's impossible to know for sure what's going on in this music, but unlike Dakim's 34 Fragments, fits the chosen medium of release. In a bizarre way, it works.
Re.Pro.Cor. - Side A (extract) by ScrapyardForecast