Parashi / Chapels split C20 (House of Alchemy)
Parashi and Chapels are both artists I’ve heard of many times from many places on the internet, and this tape has served me as a fulfilling introduction to both. After numerous listenings to this tape, as well as Chapels’ Last Nights and Parashi’s Book of Nothing, I presently view them as occupants of the topmost block of my imagined hierarchical pyramid of current noise-type artists of the cassette scene variety. I also put Fossils, Regosphere, and Cruudeuces up there. I don’t really ever choose an absolute favorite of anything, but I do like to list a favorites grouping now and then. Like the others in my current noise honors list, Parashi & Chapels Know What They Are Doing.
Parashi’s sensitive movements in various noises of various flavors is spacious, texturally elaborate, and abound with technical and compositional prowess. Of the present tape, the title of Parashi’s side is Azoth, with three sections: “Blemmyae”, “They Undulate When Struck by Light”, and “Low High”.
“Blemmyae”, a terrific title, begins with bleak blips and splatters of sound hesitantly appearing and disappearing, often half-formed; interrupted in their materialization, to temporarily evaporate from the sound field. These sounds wait for moments of variable length before pushing their way back into this dimension again, often deformed or having slightly different attributes. This is comparable to dream characters often being strangely different, alternate versions of people we know in real life, yet known to us in the dream basically as the person we know in our “real life”. The sounds are wonderfully unique in texture, with origins that are difficult to trace. The stop and go develops not quite to a cacophonous din, but becomes thick and steady.
“They Undulate When Struck by Light”
Title reminds me, not very creative on my part, of snails or earthworms, which would be good fodder probably for a video accompaniment to this segment. As with “Blemmyae”, this piece includes elements which sound pitched down, and therefore distinctly bizarre and dark as soil. The course this piece takes is fantastically organic and linear. I imagine the point of view of a Journey-To-The-Center-Of-The-EARTH type drill-pod drilling mid-speed into some unknown and weirdly colorful planet, floating at the same pace through maybe 2 or 3 hollow spaces that are filled with fossils of past lifeforms – no life in sight.
“Low High” is a droning piece based on harmonic overtones, or the illusion of them. Tones of different timbres ricocheting and flowing through/past each other. Odd sounds happen here and there in the background, thickening the substance.
From what I’ve heard, which is only a couple of releases, I have become very fond of Parashi, and expect I would not be let down by investment in more recordings by him. This is great, earthy noise experimentation with a broad palette. The artist clearly possesses more than sufficient imagination and talent to have consistently fascinating results.
Chapels’ side is much of the same school, but having a bit more weird-ambient or lo-fi-drone-collage characteristics. Sounds are lo-fi dingy, with good doses of echo on various elements, and sometimes over the whole mix, it seems. The first segment, “Blood Cure”, reminds me vaguely of soundtrack and visual auras from José Mojica Marins’ super-weird-trash horror films. For that matter, the whole side, to me, has a feel that reminds me of this. Echoed-out blurs of Halloween-season flavored murkmud. “Blood Cure”, though, has a trashed guitar being drunkenly molested top to bottom, unnerving voice down-in-the-well repeatedly intoning something incantational, and amidst these two constants there is a selection of semi-constants which enter and leave the room, decomposed to different shapes upon each re-entry.
Of the same sensations, “It’s All Going” takes you to an adjacent room, seeming to have less color on the walls, and less clutter, but still a lot of varied movement happening on all surfaces. Bugs, mostly? Big, small, shiny, long, fast-moving, slow-moving… Joe’s Apartment, but with a few flickering TV screens playing pirate stations of cut up VHS of all sorts, maybe there is a severely grizzled-looking man in the room watching one of the TVs. He is holding a dead kitten? A hole big enough to walk through is burned into one of the walls, and it leads outside, to some woods, which are also burned. I haven’t seen this but I might have heard all about it in this song called “It’s All Going”. (Term “song” used humorously – I am a stupendous comedian with a bottomless well of snappy quips to charm off the pants.)
The last and shortest piece, by the name of “Ritual”, is eerie twinkling on loop, put through different manipulatory motions and slow volume fluctuations to make room for additive sounds. Choice vinyls being slowed and sped through reverbs? The same cast of echo is here on this piece, with a vaguely perceptible room dryness (?) received by the recording microphone. Occasional shifts of equipment or feet seem to happen now and then, endearingly betraying the reverb lands fashioned by the sound sources and piped through the wires to the amplifying apparatus. If this is not a room mic recording, I apologize, but my theory that it is causes me to enjoy it just slightly more. Intimacy. Realness. Flavor.
The quality of this noise composing/composting (the compost bucket being there where I chose to unceremoniously photograph is only a coincidence, but the organic artifactory-ing & layering used by both artists is analogous) coupled with the dirty rawness of the recording aesthetic, reminds me of some of the excellent experimental/industrial noise recordings I’ve heard from the 80’s (a lot of them from Hal McGee’s Homemade Alien Music podcast – Highly Recommended!). The Hands To / PBK collaborations Melachoir and Verfall are in this realm, as are some of the numerous recordings by City of Worms. This is 2013, though, and I don’t think these guys are trying to re-live anybody’s past. They very well could have spent a lot of time in their lives listening with pleasure to all of the aforementioned name-drops, to end up being accordingly influenced. I theorize that they’re really trying to do something specific with their sounds, and if you ask me they’re doing a pretty cool job of it.