Sleep of Ages/a-m#2 – Sleep of Ages/a-m#2 (C50[?], Strabismus Tapes)

This is an interesting pairing for this split, with Sleep of Ages (who has moved away from the sword-and-sandal harsh noise walls here) doing some musique concrete/industrial jamming with bottles and a-m#2, who I’m not so familiar with, doing some really low droning with static textures and subtle bass rumbles.

The first side is from a-m#2, who contributes two tracks of lengthier substance. The first is “Vers un Bout Du Monde” at 14 minutes, and this track falls pretty short in impressing me. The track drones on with rumbles and judders at low volume. There’s nothing that’s really attractive about it, and it’s also sometimes difficult to hear even with volume on high, which makes it seem like it was simply not dubbed to tape very well. Either way, “Six Petites Terres” does a better job of ambient drone textures, with some wavery synth-like manipulations pulsing away while high-pitched feedback and wispy tones sizzle in the foreground before being overtaken by bass rumbles. Despite the disappointing first track, the second is a much better showing from a-m#2.

Sleep of Ages doesn’t really go into his normal harsh noise wall routine here, but does something a little bit different. “The House is Black” is a short little track with chimes or other percussive instruments; it seems rather improvised, but the way Sleep of Ages allows the sound to sustain makes this track very depressive and brooding, a very cool idea. “Wake of the Hollow Hearted” follows right away with very low spiraling static while bottles and glass and bangs batter the exterior. This works almost like the soundtrack to a film, and although Sleep of Ages does use some electronics atop it to create a thin texture of wall and harsh noise, the whole thing seems like the sounds of a horror movie set to tape. Interesting as well is that Sleep of Ages kind of throws some Merzbow-type harsh noise in here, with drum tracks in the background, vocals distorted and manipulated with a lot of chaos strewn throughout.

There’s quite a lot of silence at the end of both sides, which does affect the replayability of this tape. It’s not a dealbreaker of course, but it is kind of annoying, and I think the length of this tape is improperly labeled. Overall, a good, but not great, split cassette, where a-m#2 does the drone thing unimpressively and Sleep of Ages heads off into new harsh noise directions for mostly intriguing results.

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