Rope Society – One Word Definition MC Cipher Productions 2013
This 35 minute cassette is the debut for Rope Society, being the analogue driven industrial/ noise meets power electronics project of David Tonkin who would be better recognised for his main project Isomer. However as there is scant information regarding Rope Society, it is unclear whether it is intended to be continued side project, or if this is just a means to release harsher noise industrial material which would not fit comfortably under the Isomer banner. Either way 7 untitled tracks are featured here on a pro-duplicated cassette and housed in special handmade packaging.
Track 1 starts with low rumbling noise before heavy scattered blasting noise tears out of the speakers, however it should be noted that this is not noise of the HNW variety. Shifting in a loose fashion the crumbling walls of analogue distortion build, collapse and then building again within amplified intensity. With additional layered noise elements infused for further squalling and punishing effect, the sound is pushed to an extreme level by the end of its 5 minutes. Track 2 follows as a short 1.5 minute track using a loose rumbling structure and partially buried vocals, noting also that the tonal quality of piece provides a nod towards a power electronics sound, albeit in a very loose and chaotic fashion. Track 3 establishes itself as the longest offering at 7 minutes, being a piece of urgent, scattered and fractured noise that wavers from subdued to all out chaotic distortion blasts (complete with unintelligible radio dialogue sample). For these ears track 4 is a particular standout as it sits closest to a power electronics framework. Here shuddering machinery provides minimal queasy oscillating structure, with the further addition of grinding static and excellent heavily treated and barked vocals. This is the track which is closest in feel and sound of the last Isomer release, being the power electronics influenced ‘Nil By Mouth’ MCD (reviewed here). Track 5 delivers a short and sharp piece of rumbling bass static and squalling mid to high range layered noise whilst track 6 opts for a heady dose of noise blasted cacophony as and static cutups swarm incessantly. The final of the 7 tracks concludes the tape in more subdued fashion, containing a distant, echo infused textural experimental industrial sound manipulations, along with dialogue sample (referencing sound production and appreciation), as the layers of noise gradually follow an intensifying upward trajectory.
Whilst this tape feels like the material is seeking to balance structure and chaos, on ‘One Word Definition’ sonic commotion is the ultimate victor. This mean the overall vibe of the release leans more heavily towards noise than power electronics, although the later does hold some influence over the sound. Likewise although not breaking convention for this style of material, this is a solid tape which is more than improvised noise experiments. The special release specific packaging courtesy of Chris Groves of Cipher Productions is also noteworthy in both its simplicity and creativity.