Deathly Pale Party – Tibetan House Elf
False Maria – Jesus, Crashes
Split Single Release – Friday 5th of May on Bandcamp
Release on limited edition tape and digital download.
So before we get into my review of these two tracks, let’s get a bit of background on the bands producing them…
False Maria are a duo from Los Angeles, California who specialise in their self-styled ‘uncomfortable electronics’. This is their new track ‘Jesus, Crashes.’
Worcester based Deathly Pale Party, also a duo who favour adding a more cinematic atmosphere to their electronics, are back with their first single for 4 years, ‘Tibetan House-elf Choir’. They are releasing an EP this year titled ‘Corridor Based Tension’ and are performing at the popular WVFRMS & Surprise Attacks night in July.
If you’re not sure what “uncomfortable electronics” are you will know soon enough once you have listened to False Maria. I always thought “uncomfortable electronics” was when my slightly naive uncle bought my mum a “personal massager” for her for Christmas in 2004, but in fact this is probably a more uncomfortable feeling – just.
The track starts with a female voice, tape saturated (doubly so if you are listening on the tape cassette special edition) and delayed with loopbacks and layering of the prose. The words spoken are going to be a little challenging for some to listen to, particularly with them looping over and over, but that’s probably the point. Straight away you get the impression that this track is taking a satirical stab not only at religion but also at out-dated ideas around female sexuality and empowerment. Driving through these sprawling vocal landscapes are twisted metallic and industrial sounds that are designed to grate every part of the back of your head with their rough fingers and broken fingernails. You might think from my description that I don’t like it, but that’s not the case. Firstly, this is very much for the John Cage lovers and experimental minds and although I don’t put John Cage on when I have a bath, I do find it makes me think and that postmodern approach to music and sound acts like an art installation in your headphones that’s just for you, that you can access anywhere, anytime. It’s this kind of visionary experimentalism that pushes music forward. Not only are you listening to something that makes you feel uncomfortable as a listener, you are listening to the thing that keeps the music industry on its toes. I’m going to be following False Maria on Bandcamp from now on. I know that whatever comes next is going to be like the Queen’s Speech of 2004 – couldn’t come along fast enough.
Now, full disclosure – I mastered the track by Deathly Pale Party, so I know it quite well even before writing this and I am a little biassed, but this is a fantastic tune. This is much more musical and while you won’t feel uncomfortable listening to it, it does have a strong audio link with “Jesus, Crashes”. That said the sound-stage is much wider, the sounds are deeper and, as the blurb says, much more cinematic. Even so that dark sense of foreboding is running underneath it. There’s definitely some very experimental sounds going on in the background giving it that haunting and industrial edge, but this has something different going on for it too. The thing that really stands out with this track, even from past Deathly Pale Party Releases, is the bouncy, dubby tune. It’s got shades of old school dub and a little trip-hop thrown in there too, but it kind of has a sad melody running through it that comes not from what you do hear, but from what you don’t. It’s hard to explain exactly, but it is very moreish. Having had a sneak preview of another one of the tracks coming out in their new EP I can assure you it’s going to be a bit of a corker. If nothing else, it’s clear that despite the 4 year gap in production DPP have not lost their flair, but have indeed grown in their production techniques. I can’t wait to see them live at WVFRMS at Spin The Black Circle, it’s going to be amazing. And if you can’t make that and want to hear more from them, check out the next Flam and Flange podcast – we’ll have experimental electronic wizards Rosebud performing live, and we’ll throw in some Deathly Pale Party for good measure. It’s an experimental electronic wet dream.
By: Stu McGoo