I used to work at a bookshop, mainly stationed in the philosophy section. There was one book which some charitable bookseller had agreed to stock from a regular face around the store. The book in question was comprised of nothing but symbols aside from the first few pages. “This is your captain speaking. You are now aboard flight 6666666666666……” it opened boldly, although the sixes extended right to the bottom of the page and overleaf. If I were to try and suggest some listening material to accompany this rather bewildering read, ‘Paradise’, the latest release in the Clandestine Compositions label might reasonably be worthy of a mention.
Ligature is the moniker of Chris Hansell. This cassette pits resonant keys, gag-mouthed vocals and fighter-jet drones against one another between thick layers of static. Looking back over Hansell’s discography however, it’s perhaps unsurprising this latest cassette takes its cues from some rather niche sub-genres. He has had a long history of playing in punk, hardcore and noise bands in his hometown - Brooklyn, New York.
Here, these elements work together into an industrial barrage. Take the shards of distortion or paranoia laced synth-work through opener ‘Window To The World’. They would sit comfortably on a Merzbow record (or as comfortably as anything sits on a Merzbow record), while the crushing, over-amped drones of ‘Paradise I’ feel like we are seeing a guest appearance from Sunn O))).
On the b-side, we are given some respite after this chaotic onslaught, however the tranquility ‘11581’ begins with doesn’t last long. The track’s dust-covered piano ramblings and cutlery-draw percussion are rudely interrupted in the latter half by waves of roaring distortion. The effect is powerfully physical, making the spoken word interval that follows all the more poignant. ‘Paradise II’ offers a period of reflection after Hansell’s noise-driven assaults. “You’ve visited this place before. Although it’s a sickening feeling, knowing you can see paradise from here” is dragged out from phone-receiver vocals, setting tone alongside Hansell’s discordant plastic organs and screeching feedback loops.
‘Paradise’ saw it’s release late last month in conjunction with Lea Bertucci’s ‘Axis/Atlas’ split, making up the ninth and tenth releases on the label - a rather impressive feat considering the label was only founded sometime in 2014. Far from quantity over quality however, both these cassettes demonstrate a keen appreciation for sounds on the outer fringes of electronic music, and I am very much looking forward to hearing what the Providence, Rhode Island based label chooses to shed light on next.