| Tear Ceremony: Film Decay|
(Simulacra Records - 1998)
Whereas I compared Tear Ceremony's excellent (albeit somewhat unsettling) previous release Resin to a mildly bad LSD experience, I'd say Film Decay is less like a "trip", and more like taking permanent residence in that dismal, yet strangely attractive otherworld, then sending out these alluringly blurred snapshots. Wish you were here?
Again we're absorbed into a surreal atmosphere where "normal" things are cast in a gray/green tint that renders all unfamiliar; this time though, it's the timelocked existence between the layers of film in some unremembered photographs. Film Decay's tracks are slightly disorienting, but when one lets their perceptions shift into synch, they can produce a truly immersive aura of sound and place.
A common thread throughout these pieces is their haziness; all are somehow remote, existing in their own realm of percussion-free ambience. resurfacing fades in with churning, evolving layers of synth. Xylophone-like notes come and go, as the background surges and withdraws, joined by the softly grating clatter of a geiger counter for the final few minutes. Billowing sound clouds and electronic hum open seismograph, soon to be joined by various other effects... wispy musical tones, insectoid chitterings and an oddly wooden mechanical emanation. Short track jean seberg, circa 1958 (1:19) features a brief glimpse of peacefully rolling piano and synth notes doing fairly straightforward, if not a bit murky, music.
A more "industrial" background sets the basis for morse code, which engages in some distortedly dripping blipping, but none of the "dot-dash" sounds the title might insinuate. Everything boils around, growing louder, then quieter. the speed of film comes in on a somehow slanted sheet of sound as is soon permeated by deeper ripples, which in turn is added to by a haunting pipe-organ-like background and intriguing sonic apparitions. Dreamlike, muted glimmerings of xylophonic notes dapple the night air; talk about place and time... we're at the brill building, 4 am, where a distant haze of sound is overlain with randomly floating strands and more deliberate xylo-tones for an overall effect that is both delicate and strong.
Another "architectural" snapshot, constructing new cities mixes muffled whirrs and clankings with reverberant drones. A denser cloud of sound obscures everything else, faraway booms echoing within. Eventually the track shifts again as a more electric buzz and echoing notes form a slow rhythm, then fade out. Suspended in its own encircling waves, afloat remains out of reach, quietly resonating.
Louder, more discordant waves take us to the zapruder frame (the most infamous "film" reference here; nothing overt though... don't be thinking gunshots). Those ripples smooth into a droning morass which is soon visited upon by sparse, melancholy piano notes in achingly gorgeous slow motion. dissolve again submerges the listener in a thick, fluid suspension, as bits and pieces float downward, into a deep dark unknown. Higher pitched shimmerings phase into this abstract scene, as it all, like the name might imply, dissolves...
|Consider me absorbed into the off-kilter sound experiments of Tear Ceremony.Film Decay is a most listenable, most absorbing piece of work; sound collages which are delightful and a little spooky at the same time. I bestow Both Thumbs Up for this mysterious celluloid wonder.|