Glasgow Smile, the project of Zach Guttowsky – also of Folter and Postule, released a tape on the WGM label last year. To look at the physical cassette, though, you wouldn’t really notice anything of import – it’s pretty much unlabeled besides the tape’s backside and the “GS” written on the cassette itself, and the J-card makes no mention of album title or tracks. I’m getting the subtitle from Discogs; otherwise, everything on this lengthy tape is untitled, a mysterious release that WGM is known for.
Two side-long tracks clock in around 30 minutes on the tape, although for my guess is that Glasgow Smile has actually broken these two tracks into four fifteen minute pieces, since both sides do seem to break halfway through. The first track’s first part is a bass-driven affair at medium to medium-fast tempo, fluctuated with both a constant static undertone often interrupted by either feedback or different flares of static. These are quickly changing tracks from Glasgow Smile, and though the tone is root in harsh noise walls, the actual output here is more akin to heavily modulated noise.
The second part of that first track is an even heavier bass-driven wall, often rooted in a thick and crumbly texture. It’s often pierced by wails of feedback, and one will notice that towards the end of the whole thing, there’s a huge bass shudder that practically drove my stereo system through the floor of my apartment. Though it’s not a high-pitched throb, the low registers of this bass are particularly painful to the ears. At the end of this, the sound cuts out as though the side has ended, but stick around – Glasgow Smile has a short burst waiting for the patient listener.
The second side of this tape is similar, with the first part of the track beginning with another blown-out, crunchy bass line along with what can only be described as mechanical malfunction sounds. Glasgow Smile incorporates some vocals in underneath all of the onslaught, and towards the end the piece begins to scrape in and out, with the bass tones fading in and out while scratchy static whirs and warps behind ravings that sound like Billy from Black Christmas.
The second part offers up a loud buzzing hum and a slow progression into rumbles and crumbling static textures. That hum stays fairly constant, however, as another devastating low-end blast. It then falls into a rhythm of looping feedback squalls and more hollow, medium-pitched bleeps as the initial wall continues behind it. This part is one of the most structured on the tape it seems, and that’s evidenced by the constants that keep the track in the same sort of tone as Glasgow Smile continues to add to the soundscape.
You won’t find much new on Untitled (Ripped to Reds), but it’s a solid effort from Glasgow Smile and it’s certainly a harsh way to spend an hour. The two tracks (or four parts if you consider it like I do) here are heavy, roiling, and quickly paced, and this is a good example of thick, oscillating harsh noise done well.