Brandon X – Brandon X (C20, Space Idea Tapes)

 

Brandon X is the owner and operator of Space Idea Tapes, and this is his debut cassette. As a twenty minute noise tape, it’s a nice short start to a noise career, as it gives the listener a small taste of the sound without exhausting the potential. Two side-long tracks are featured on this tape, with only a j-card inclusion without track names.

Brandon X toys with harsh noise, drones, and static manipulation. On side A, he tackles thin lines of static that stutter and then completely cut out, sometimes fading out shortly or other times skipping into territory that sounds like warped cassette manipulation. There are moments of brief clarity on side A, where one can sort of hear the whirs of the tape or what sounds like a musical deconstruction. But other times, the strangeness of the tape’s composition can throw the listener; take the beginning of the track, which feels too sparse and barren, or the messy shifts between samples. Sometimes it sounds like a vacuum cleaner has been recorded; sometimes there’s just a lot of analogue judders. They don’t always mesh, and it also feels like there’s a lack of direction in some of the minimal blanks.

Side B is, too, often minimal in its sound. The track starts off with a simple shuddering line of lower amp feedback that eventually spirals into some static tweaks. The pared-down Brandon X simply sounds like problems with studio equipment, which is fine if it were a little bit more interesting, but sometimes Brandon X slips into the dilemma of not giving the listener enough. One line of noise tweaking might not be as minimally entertaining as you might think, and here, there’s such a lack of defining sound that these tracks might just be damaged tape recordings of recording equipment left on. I’m all for simplicity, but there’s nothing inherently mesmerizing about listening to the subtle hum of the amp.

It’s not a terrible start for Brandon X; I can imagine this first cassette is more about learning what his equipment can do, what sounds good and what doesn’t, rather than any kind of chaotic patterning of intestine-spilling noise. But it will likely be seen as an amateurish display of harsh noise, something that Brandon X will need to improve upon as he continues to release his noise.

 

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