Durastatic & Lovebrrd – There Are No Laptops On This Album (C62, Lava Church)

Lovebrrd and Durastatic, two Florida artists involved in the experimental arts, combine on There Are No Laptops On This Album to give you, well, a full-length cassette of drones and churning noises that weren’t generated by laptops. I’m not sure if this is a slight against those who use laptops (myself included) or if it’s just a general statement, but the duo holds their own with just analog equipment and synths throughout the hour of tape on offer.

The first side is broken into three tracks. The first, “Opening,” is ironically the best one on this cassette. Featuring damaged synth work, cuckoo clocks, and other whirring sounds and mechanical aberrations, “Opening” feels the most active of all four tracks. The others tend to drone without much variation or complexity: second track “Tumult” does offer up a track that matches its title, with a rumbling bass loop and a couple of synth pitch tones here and there towards the end, but its ten minute run time is too sparse.

This is the case with the two longer-running tracks, which suffer the most from the setup. Side A’s ender “Floats” clocks in at just under 15 minutes, and Side B is the lengthy half-hour jaunt “Clerk.” Both try to stretch the limits of their sound to little effect. “Floats” loops heavily-resonant synths and adds tendrils of squeaks and squonks underneath – the blurriness of the track works for a while, but the excitement quickly fades away. The best part is towards the end, when the track finally works out of its loop to open up with some excellent blasts of sloshy noise and feedback swirls.

The other side, “Clerk,” is a side-long exploration of synth loops and sparse background sound. It falls into a similar vein as the other tracks, but stretched out to a half an hour, it’s much less effective. The blown-out synth reverberates throughout in different forms of loops; there are marches, whirrs, and slower drones. While this goes on, judders and chirrups resonate underneath it. But the synth tones never seem to differ – they’re always on a very similar loop, and during the early parts of the track, it gets boring. The rhythmic pounding is meant to initiate a trance, and it does in the later part of “Clerk” when everything starts to boil together, but early on it’s hard to warrant such a long running time for this track.

Overall this is a lengthy cassette with some substance. Durastatic and Lovebrrd often find common ground during the more cathartic moments of their set, but sometimes getting there means wading through some disinteresting moments of sparse loops. The length of this tape probably has something to do with it – the amount of time they work with forces them to move much more slowly into dense noise than need be.

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