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- Split by Stuart Chalmers / Nick Edwards
9/10 Ant Staff review, 30 August 2013
Nick Edwards is probably best known for his avant electronic dub work as Ekoplekz but also has some really wicked stuff out as PLKZFX and Ensemble Skalectrik but until now has only had a small handful of releases under his real name, including a killer album for Editions Mego. His half of this tape split my cranium wide open upon first listen, leaving my brains gushing out. The sounds of the almost half hour long ‘Reflectograph Suite’ sit somewhere between his Ekoplekz and Ensemble Skalectrik output. The ‘Suite’ began life in 2011 as part of an installation work exhibited in Krakow and New York and was later reworked and edited for this fine Feral tapes release. With his boxes of tricks he conjures up a constantly evolving dystopian sound world in the spirit of all the pure classic electronic/ noise music that excites me; Throbbing Gristle, Wolf Eyes, Maurizio Bianchi etc. Sure tons have folks have been aping those sounds over the years, hell the recent Wolf Eyes LP was pure TG but what makes Nick’s take unique is his dubwise approach to his compositions. This has a lovely foggy/ lost feel and at times is kinda like slowly descending into a blackened abyss.
Stuart Chalmers is a name I’ve seen about but am ashamed to say I’ve never actually heard until now. His side of this split tape is also rather excellent with ‘Subteranea’ in four parts which in many ways recalls a lot of early electronic/ tape/ Musique concrète. There are sounds present which are easily identifiable such as the piano but what really pulls me in are the sounds which are unidentifiable and downright werid. Had someone told me ‘Subteranea3’ was an out take from the recent Rashad Becker LP for PAN I’d be none the wiser. Need to start checking out this fellows back catalogue quick smart. Both sides of this tape are well boss as are the Skeksi and CHXFX tapes on the label. Edition of 80 copies - miss at your peril.
8/10 Steve Cammack Customer review, 14th September 2013
I really enjoyed the last time I heard Stuart Chalmers, the split cassette with Robert Ridley-Shackleton called "Blunders" and I really like the Ekoplekz / Ensemble Skalektrik cassette that Feral Tapes released a few months back. Both projects are the brainchild of Bristol musician Nick Edwards, I enjoyed the tape so much I went and bought an LP by eMMplekz - yet another Edwards non-de-plume. Great LP. So this tape seemed like a must have.
It does not disappoint but then at the same time doesn't really leap out of the tape machine screaming "play me again. play me again". It is a good release, a fascinating and at times highly enjoyable listen but it doesn't grab the ears ... if you know what I mean? (great song).
This split cassette is a C60. Nick Edwards gives us "Reflectograph Suite" a recording from 2011 that was used by video artist Jade Boyd for his installations in Poland and America. The sound is alien soundtracks, synth woosh and space bleeps. The sound immediately reminds me of early Throbbing Gristle cassettes, maybe Chris Carter solo recordings from 1975, and then there are times the sound is very close to those early Clock DVA tapes and long pieces carried titles like "Formlessness/anti-void" and suchlike. I imagine the accompanying films to be blurred technicolour and Kodachrome.
Stuart Chalmers presents "Subterranea" in four parts. Stuart's set up for this project is cassette players and effects pedals. Preslav Literary School territory, and the resulting sound is quite similar. Part One is a bit like Side A. Should be a soundtrack to space films. Part Two has a jazz feel with discordant keys, plucked double bass, ethereal flute and lazy rhythms. Great stuff, well constructed. Part Three starts with annoying spastic breakbeat rhythms - finger wavers over the eject button - but it morphs in to some kind of scat-Gamelan before wandering off in to noodle land. Part Four is similar to Part One.
It's a good tape, worthy of a release and on a great label.
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