Mole Hole – Sordid Hypnosis (C40, Lighten Up Sounds)

mole hole sordid hypnosis

Mole Hole’s Sordid Hypnosis uses a phonograph machine and 16mm film loops for its source material, and it was recorded straight to tape. That’s an interesting idea, and perhaps is one of the major draws to this cassette on Lighten Up Sounds. The other is the recycled way that it is packaged: the tape is housed between two rotting wooden boards from an old white barn and screwed together to make a sort of anti-tape that can actually be rescued from its captivation.

The tape features two 20 minute sides, apparently untitled (although Lighten Up Sounds’ Bandcamp features titles for them). The first side features a pushed-back rumbling tone of various crumbling sounds, all of them so lo-fi that it’s difficult to hear specific textures. Throughout, this tone continues in different forms, making it the base for the track while Mole Hole expands upon it with screechy feedback and, towards the end of the track, what sounds like a really scratchy phonograph loop. If you think about how a subway sounds when it’s just a little ways from entering the station, that’s about what most of the first side sounds like.

The second side is more crumbling and less interested with using multiple textures. Instead there’s a lingering whirring sound that clogs the background while the forefront features a lot of textured crunch that sounds recorded from a distance. The first time I heard this side, I wasn’t very interested in it and found myself losing attention. On multiple listens, however, there is something to take away from this side, but it’s difficult because of the quality of recording. The crunching tends to blend together with little variation to it – but the track makes up for that by consistent churns of sound and even the vamping of a synthesizer later on.

Sordid Hypnosis is an interesting experiment with the phonograph and tape reels; the lo-fi quality can sometimes be both a hindrance and a helper to these tracks. Side A is the better of the two because of its swirls of feedback, while Side B often falls into a constant whirring sound where the ear can barely pick out the movement of the textures because of their muddiness. But the odd packaging and uniqueness of Mole Hole’s work make it viable for recommendation anyway.

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