Culver / Cathal Rodgers – untitled MC Demons in the Architecture 2014
Fossils / Cathal Rodgers – untitled MC Demons in the Architecture 2014
By way of quick introductions Cathal Rodgers is an Irish drone/ noise/ experimental musician who is also is behind this micro tape label and has issued a series of split cassettes featuring his work alongside others with a similar stylistic bent.
Culver are featured on Side A of the first tape, and whilst a project I am aware of by name I have not heard until now. However then noting that Culver have issued over 150 releases in the last 20 years, this immediately started to ring alarm bells about potential quality control issues. So after hearing the two tracks offered (‘Egyptian Incest (Part I) & (Part II)’), it seems my initial concern was not unfounded. Simply put Culver present 2 tracks of rather simplistic and snooze inducing drones mixed with some extremely basic guitar noodlings, were the compositional format simply drag on and on (…and on). The sound is sparse (not in a good way) with little to no variation throughout the two lengthy tracks which consequently is simply unengaging and rather a chore to sit though. I have no idea of whether these tracks are representative of the overall sound and approach on Culver’s voluminous number of other releases, but based on this I simply do not care to find out.
Moving onto Side B, Cathal Rogers, fares far better with two tracks of animated yet abstract tonal drones. A dank foggy atmosphere permeates the two tracks on offer, which are bleak but not necessarily dark in tone, Being multilayered in their approach, wavering sub-harmonic drones give a vague air of melodiousness, and as is characteristic with drone music the sonic approach follows a cyclic ebbing and flowing style. On occasion sonic hints of sparse and minimalist guitar tunes semi-buried within the mix can be detected, which provides a nice maudlin touch to the sound. Whilst sitting squarely within a drone frame of reference, these two lengthy tracks are both enjoyable and accomplished.
On the next split tape the Canadian project Fossils lead off Side A of the second tape, and features a single lengthy track ‘Histories Of Time To Come’ which is very much of an abstract industrial noise approach featuring lots of sparse scattered sounds and micro-tonal textures. The sound is also sparse and cavernous, where the distant wind-tunnel echoed drones provide lots of sonic room to feature and focus on the ‘close up’ metallic knocks and textural scraping sounds and some sporadic looped and treated voices. Given the looseness of sound I get the feel this is perhaps in part improvised, where is some later segments the sound becomes a touch aimless. Yet thankfully these are limited and generally speaking the piece is predominantly engaging throughout its length.
Cathal Rogers again rounds out Side B, here featuring 5 shorter tracks. With a heavier more brutal droning rumble, this is more akin to an industrial-noise approach, given it is based on rough and dank distortion, crumbling noise and a loose looped structure, which build in drawn out cyclic waves. A heavy echoed depth is also evident as is a speaker panning effect is also used for a greater degree of disorientation. To reference a specific track, ‘Seven Head and Ten Horns’ has a overblown feedback rumble, which starts to step into Sunn O))) territory, given it tonally sounds if a guitar is being used to create the distortion waves, whilst the slightly more structure loops of the final track ‘Revelation’ provide an subdued death industrial feel. Thus noting Cathal’s differing sonic approach showcased on both of these split tapes, this would be the pick and preference for my own sonic preferences and sensibilities.