Every Contact…

Let’s press ahead; let’s grope in the dark.

Every Contact Leaves A Trace’s album designs show a human hand. I was reminded of a few of those proundly genuine hardcore bands from the mid-90s like Frail and Angel Hair and Mohinder, the packaging aesthetics flush with the same handmade garrulousness, unseemly-beautiful… and, yeah, I love to see seams, I love to see the work show. And there is above all else love in this label. DIY, gloriously so. And I’m probably digging a hole here for myself: my all thumbs approach to trying to figure out anything. I lost the little clips that hold these releases together within a day, and I mixed up the unmarked cdrs within a week. The albums seemed to have exploded across my apartment leaving only textured paper indented with razor blades, printed overheads, and enigmatic glossy photos behind. But most importantly, of course, I was left with the music.

Real As Any Place You’ve Been – Dominic Lash | Thames Water Live – Will Montgomery

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Dominic Lash’s piece emerges from the gloom of pre-show chatter and choral-segue like an animal shedding its skin, arching it’s back, kicking off the dirt… Arco bass as if possessed, but not distraught. More serpentine and ultimately relaxing, I wish I could’ve been there in the crowd, leaning forward, a chin in hand, a bottle in the other… but the live recording allows for a step back, and it provokes– Lash’s bowing almost sounds as if he’s being joined in by a that eternally burring John Butcher. The voice doubled, pocked but lithe. I’m not sure I would think that if I were there, unalloyed. Lash is one of my favorites on one of my favorite instruments. He draws out a stinging; the rosin seems to sing against the strings. The knuckled-control of his playing, not as much muscular as balletic and honed — yellowed skin, toenails compacted, each movement an example of long, calloused practice. Pragmatic, but alive.

The beginning of Will Montgomery’s piece is percolation until swollen death, chilled wine down the length of a fattened belly. Lash and Montgomery fashion a kind of circular resonance, the ache of tortured wood against the burble of water, the hiss of cold wind. But that soon subsides to something altogether more interesting. I keep thinking it’s all some canoe trip amplified; the composition resides as much in the appearance of water and earth as the electrical ducts above your head. There is a temptation to do some sort of awful play by play of Montgomery’s piece, but undoubtedly that’s dreary and boring — a travelogue that only reduces rather than expounds. No doubt that any kind of explanation would relegate this thing into something self-serving. I like this. Montgomery has created something fucking fantastic. And it is a thing, alive. To pretend to add words here would only subtract. This goes without saying: don’t listen to me.

Music of Sound – Henry Collins

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Second up. I continue to listen to it, and so in that sense it’s a success. But I’m too caught up in its creation that I can’t hear beyond its novelty. Let’s face it, I’m a simple dude. And I don’t have time for this (although most people who know me would say I certainly do; and I’m too lazy to remove it from my cd player). That said, if the film were John Carpenter’s The Thing, or Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, well, sign me up. I will say that it adds an much needed break of foot steps, and door slamming between Morbid Angel albums.

Four No-Input Field Recordings – Seth Cooke

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Seth Cooke’s (also ECLAT label head) 3 inch cdr, Four No-Input Field Recordings, is a study in teaming masses. I don’t really care about the hows, and I don’t think you should either. Instead the focus should be on how truly great this this little thing sounds. It’s all smoothed-edged noise, brutal little ovoids of fracturing mass, repeating into infinity. Each track is like being investigated by an Eye of Sauron afflicted with varying cases of windswept-particle conjunctivitis. But damn, it sounds great — like an aural reflection of the binge-purge feedback loop of junk info– the endless reflection of one and zero, of reflection but no self. But I won’t fool around with a poor exegeses: I like how it sounds so much that I don’t give a shit. Let’s all live a little. Jesus.

Anatomy of the Self Vol. 2 – Ignacio Agrimbau

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Anatomy of the Self vol 2 by Ignacio Agrimbau is also a killer. Of all the releases on Every Contact Leaves a Trace this seems the most out of place — a bricolage of caffeinated percussion on skin drum and cajon and whatever else; the slithering zither and “broken dudek”; not to mention the field recordings and electronics… it seems nearly perverse. It’d be easy to write it off as some pastiche of Peruvian or Armenian traditional music mixed with 70s Euro analog space-flog, but the thing seems so loving, and so ultimately weird that those feelings disappear. It’s as clear as some other albums in this first batch opaque. It skips across itself, stuttering, fusing novel conglomerations. The use of football chants on the final track make little sense to me personally, but seem utterly apt in context. Weird. Kinda great.

Every Contact Leaves a Trace

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