In FFFocus: Imminent Frequencies’ latest tapes

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Imminent Frequencies, the Brooklyn-based imprint, currently has all of their tapes on sale for 25% off, so now is a perfect time to grab their most recent batch of superb tapes that they snuck out at the tail end of last year. Among the lot is Tonal Fragments, the latest from Imminent Frequencies head honcho Ryan Marino’s Remnants project. This c28 effort is dedicated to the late composer/polymath Walter De Maria, who passed away last summer, and finds Marino further exploring the subtle shifts and hypnotic effects of corroded and layered tape loops. The sound of decay is damn near tactile on these seven short pieces that range from sputtering scrabble of windswept noise to dreamy nocturnal waltzes for dying machines. There are plenty of folks operating in a similar sonic landscape right now, but Marino may be one of the more talented, yet underappreciated, tape-loop practitioners out there. The same could be said for Tom White, the London-based sound/multimedia artist, whose Corrugated tape plays out like a more expansive and intricately layered version of Tonal Fragments with its forward-motion transitions and snatches of upper frequency found sounds. Emaciator, the long-running solo outlet of Jon Borges (of Pedestrian Deposit and Monorail Trespassing), also composes more expansive, sidelong pieces on Finality and Contradiction. Borges, however, doesn’t deal in tape loops, but crafts rich dream-drone textures using guitar and no-input effects that develop according to their own set of slow motion logic in terms of volume and intensity. The real gem among the latest Imminent Frequencies batch, though, is the much-needed reissue of A Handful of Dust’s From A Soundtrack to the Anabase of St-John Perse. A Handful of Dust was the duo of veteran New Zealand experimentalists, Bruce Russell (Dead C) and Alastair Galbraith (The Rip, Plagal Grind), and this release originally appeared on Russell’s own Corpus Hermeticum imprint back in 1995. The duo use the spoken word rendering of Anabasis, the T.S. Eliot-translated poem from 1924, as a launching pad into a wild mix of free improvisational moves and amplified tone poems that incorporate a wide range of instrumentation that sounds as fresh to these ears today as I’m sure it did to others back in the mid-90’s. Get after these titles (and any of the others in stock) before they’re gone!

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