Holographic Beast – Glass Tightrope (C21, Know/Care)

Glass Tightrope comes with a depressive sort of poem, and I think that fits quite nicely with the power  electronics sounds that Holographic Beast puts to tape. They’re not always rooted in darkness, but they never quite seem to burst forth a blossoming of light, either. There’s a denseness to sounds that is almost claustrophobic.

The titular track “Glass Tightrope”, which starts the cassette, begins with a couple of loose lines of buzzing noise, and they lead into a warped, scuzzy bit of static crackling along with windy sounds that seem to strike at the recording device and, in turn, the listener. It’s combined with a bit of feedback and echoing vocals, so much so that the listener can’t really make out what the speaker is saying – but perhaps that’s the point, to couch the idea of the poem (it is the poem that is being spoken) behind the grittiness of noise. Then it cuts away again, leaving those tendrils of sound sounding a bit more melancholy. The accompanying track on this side, “Non-routine”, is ironic in its title since it’s a fairly looping bit of noise. It’s a fine track, but nothing memorable really.

Side B has the longer “Before. Further”, which features another windy bit of pulsating bass tones and a good droning sound, and it almost comes to take on a sort of rhythmic song to it. It’s not the track I would’ve chosen to be the side-long one; “Glass Tightrope” is the best of the three here and would have made for a good longer piece. But “Before. Further” is hypnotic enough.

Glass Tightrope is a good release; it doesn’t stick to the formula of layering synth pulses on top of throaty vocals. It does more than that, making for some good atmospheric power electronics. This is the second Holographic Beast tape I’ve heard, and they’ve both been very different but good in their own ways.

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