Autumn Burn – Autumn Burn (C30, Not On Label)

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Autumn Burn is a one-release project from Bryan of Is, as part of a collection of sorts including off-shoot releases from projects Trustable (review coming soon) and Manipulator. This C30 comes with a picturesque J-card of autumnal-colored leaves; the appearance is simple, with a commonplace brand over the top and blank white on the opposite side of the card. The tape is plain black with just a white sticker circle on the A-side – no colorings or labels, just simplicity, a here-it-is attitude that draws me in before I even play the tape.

On display are two untitled tracks (again, that sense of distance from the listener, or a kind of dark uncaring), each 15 minutes, that drone on with dark, rhythmic loops. Side A begins with a wind-swept whisper, a whoosh of dark sound that is both alluring and sinisterly lonely. It’s hollow but with a bass rhythm set underneath, and gradually oscillating tones of feedback highs and swirling electronics pull into the mix, with a whirring that compliments the continual wind gust nicely. It’s a somewhat standard build, but the pairings work well and the track becomes a tense hypnotic sensation of depressive release. Slightly past the halfway mark much of the whisper drops out for a loop deep bass waverings and sporadic background feedback, and though it would seem as though the two drones don’t mix well, Autumn Burn proves that they do – to a staggering, dazing effect, melodic and compulsory in its structure. I’d recommend August Burn to anyone solely on how taken I am with this track.

Side B begins with random bursts of static, not harsh noise wall stuff or anything monolithic but just syncopated jolts of sound. A distant buzzing drones its way forward, gaining volume as it battles for center stage with the static. The bursts don’t do much for me – though the seemingly random beats give an on-edge feeling, I wasn’t sucked into their gaps or compelled by their intensity. But the buzz that shifts spots with the static has a great pulsing feel, and I really enjoy the transition from static in the foreground and buzz in the background to the opposite. Side B is more of a slow burn than the A side, fairly rigid in its ideas for a while before new sounds begin to approach the listener. Static flares play over the buzz at times with a bass pattering. There’s a solid build and tension between the buzz and static along with a clearly defined rhythm that keeps the whole track in motion. Though I believe Side A is a bit stronger in its execution, this track definitely has the same idea, of slow droning builds moving to immense climaxes, down pat.

Two succinct and hypnotic tracks on this cassette which may be the sole performance from the moniker Autumn Burn. Definitely worth a few listens, as Autumn Burn manages to create dense dreary tracks perfect for a crisp fall night.

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