Kowloon_Walled_City: Escape From Walled City tape (Cavern Brew Records, 2015)January 30, 2016 at 8:59 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment
I’m very confused, I thought Kowloon Walled City was a hardcore band. Turns out this is something different, hence the underscores in the name. This tape is on a Jersey-based label, and it seems to exist somewhere between new age and not-harsh noise, with a yoga instructor meditating around a thin veil of static. The second side has some distant, slowed-down loop that could be from a doo-wop song, joined by more shadowy singing and a rainy atmosphere. The lovely singing continues, and it’s joined by trickles of noise, and at some point some more scrambled noise just gets dumped on top. After some manipulated music box sounds, the tape gets quieter and starts to sound like it’s unspooling a bit. Then there’s some slow whispering, returning to the meditative speech of the first side, but it ends with more fragile (possibly in Japanese) singing accompanied by escalating noise. Even though the entire album is pretty short, it’s split a cross two sides of a 60 minute cassette, requiring lots of fast-forwarding (or rewinding, because it’s too short and mysterious to process on a single listen). Its Bandcamp gives it the dreaded “vaporwave” tag, but like recent, brilliant albums on Dream Catalogue by Immune and 2814, this one seems far more personal and moving than most of the jokey, groan-inducing output with foreign characters and garish artwork that’s clogging up Bandcamp.