Former the Skaters chap and actual skater James Ferraro has forged an idiosyncratic path over the last few years producing a dazzling array of musical styles and in fact winning the coveted the Wire Album of the Year in 2011. 'Rerex' is a wildly ambitious three hour extravaganza using cheap casios, loops and found sounds to lull us into his musical world.
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Whopping triple LP set clocking in at almost 3 hours which compiles a coupla 2009 CDr’s originally released on the artists Muscleworks Inc. label he ran alongside New Age Tapes. ‘Rerex 1’ and ‘Rerex 2’ where part of what he termed the Summer Headrush Series which also included Body Fusion 1 and 2, iAsia, Wild World, Son of Dracula and Hacker Track.
Apparently this collection of work was loosely based on visions received during sessions of choking himself (self-induced hypocapnia). Not something I’ve personally explored but I imagine it’s possibly similar to a near death experience - some zone between life and death. This is vintage James Ferraro from around the time the word ‘Hypnagogic’ was being slung around. Like many I never got to hear these difficult to obtain discs first time around - so these recordings are now freshly pumped into the lugholes via the recommended listening method which is headphones. The first slab of wax has a similar tranquil vibe to his 2008 sister albums ‘Discovery’ and ‘Clear’. These are epic hypnotic tracks with trance inducing repetition; constructed from cheap Casio keyboards, samples and shimmering, fluttering loops. There’s that whole new age retro vibe that he pretty much made fashionable at the time but rather than being some fluffy hippy crap it has that really hallucinogenic, fried Skaters thing going on with loads of squidged up tropical creatures tweeting and squawking away over fucked up flutes and so on.
On the second piece of vinyl things get even weirder and it really reminds of how far out James Ferraro’s work was around this time, especially when compared to some of his more recent productions. Side C has what sounds like some mutant cyborg jellyfish swimming through the Amazon River accompanied by a tribe of aliens along the river banks playing free jazz on pan pipes.
Side D is F/X smothered samples / loops that while sounding kinda harsh and noisy still have a mesmerising soothing quality. The samples get sped up on Side F into some really nutty, trippy intense, brain frazzling hyper-ambient.
On the final side this ease back into aquatic, gloopy ambient - like swimming through warm, crystal clear, turquoise tropical waters and hanging out with wasted dolphins, who provide a blissed awe-inspiring (weird) sonar soundtrack.
Aguirre have done an excellent job in vinylizing these rare CDr’s and making them available to a wider audience than when they were initially published. There’s 500 copies this time around. Let’s hope they dig further into the New Age Tapes and Muscle Works Inc. catalogue for some more vinyl reissues -- as this stuff really deserves to be more widely available.
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- Rerex by James Ferraro
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