...like a field recording of sunspot activity or insects building nests inside an...
Peter Marsh 2002-11-20
Kim Cascone's brand of abstract electronica is as hand crafted as it gets. He writes his own software routines, creates his own patches and probably knits his own mousemats in an attempt to break free from the traps of making the same noises everyone else does.
Perversely, this almost molecular level of control allows Cascone to build more chaos into his tools, and generate systems that operate under their own rules. His background as a film sound designer (most notably for David Lynch) might lead you to think of his music as being cinematic, but it really isn't (unless it's film of cells replicating or some amino acids getting it on).
On the face of it, his hookup with AMM guitarist Keith Rowe may seem unlikely, but Rowe's recent work with laptop ensemble MIMEO and Cascone's collaborations with guitarist Kevin Drumm point to the common ground this rather lovely square 3" CD maps out; though not a collaboration in the usual sense (Rowe gave Cascone a live recording to work on) there is a sense that the two mens worlds are meeting in the middle.
On the single track, Cascone spins out a dronework of resonant buzzes, pulses and indistinct voices from his source material. Of course, Rowe is hardly the most conventional of guitarists; played flat on a table, the strings are alternately caressed, rubbed and thwacked by fans, brushes, bowes and knives in an aesthetic that would give Hendrix nightmares. Fed through Cascone's DSP wizardry, Rowe's guitar transmutes into gentle, hollow drones, fractured by tiny sounds like the cracking of ice; Cascone treats Rowe's occasional eruptions with windtunnel ambience, trailing off in fizzy distortions or chiming sinetones.
Its dark, atmospheric stuff, like a field recording of sunspot activity or insects building nests inside an electricity substation, strangely meditative yet slightly unsettling. Give yourself up to it and its a deep, deep listen; when it's over the rain on the window or the hum of your fridge sound different, stranger, louder. Recommended.