Synth Meditation tape (Life Like, 2013)

June 30, 2013 at 11:26 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Synth Meditation tape

Synth Meditation tape

A few months ago, Life Like released a tape with no information at all printed on it, other than the Life Like logo and a catalog number, and some sort of circuit-like design on the cover. The website just refers to it as Synth Meditation and doesn’t give a clue as to who recorded it, just saying that it’s 90 minutes of raw analog synth recorded live to two-track tape, and that it lacks character, is totally dull, and is one of the best tapes they’ve ever released. I couldn’t have been more intrigued, and I definitely have to say it’s easily one of my favorite Life Like tapes so far. There’s more going on here than I expected from the description. I expected just one or two notes for an hour, and there’s just so much more progression and variation than that. It sounds human to me, anyway. Side A starts out with sort of a downcast drone, but it doesn’t stay in one place, it sounds awake and moving. Sort of holographic sounding, even though it’s minimal you feel like there’s some sort of audio illusion, something going on subconsciously. There’s some wavy synths that sort of swizzle in here and there, but the main sound bed is the warm glowing drone which seems to gravitate between two notes. Reminds me a bit of Red Electric Rainbow, and seriously, what the fuck happened to that guy? Dude released a million tapes between 2009 and 2011 and then disappeared. Or at least somebody stopped entering his new releases into Discogs. Anyway, side A of this type does kind of continue on monotonously for a while, but when some sounds flare up, it gets pretty cosmic. And then eventually the signal gets kind of warped, warning signals pan between the left and right channels, and things start to get strange. It’s always growing and expanding, but every couple minutes another sound or effect is introduced and it just keep going into a different outer orbit. It gets a little more distorted and ends with kind of a buzzing drone that’s far away from the warm, kind of blue, downcast drone from the beginning of the tape. And side B (at least I think it’s side B, neither side is labelled) is just something else entirely, a tense, paranoid creeper which is definitely not music to meditate to. A swiftly building, jittery synth sequence gets pumped up with fuzz and static and eventually blows out completely, but then some alien-sounding synth melodies surface and illuminate, and it gets seriously mind-boggling. Really messy and freaky and even quite playful. And it just keeps building, adding waves of noise and some fluttery keyboard soloing. It never stays still and it just keeps going deeper into the void. Shrouded in mystery and even a bit of false advertising, this is totally one of the best tapes I’ve heard all year.

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