The Rubber Room
Mum / The Orb / Heircraft Totem / Thread Pulls / Irene Moon/Ortho

The Rubber Room column is a weekly look at recent and notable releases that don’t fall into the rubric of traditional reviewed material—namely 7”’s, 12”’s, 3” CDs, EPs, cassette-only, DVDs and MP3-only releases.

Dusk Log
[Fatcat, 2004]

Something in Summer Make Good’s make-up pushed the album off the teetering edge that the group occupied on their first two albums. More acoustic instruments? Field-recordings of docks? Too much of the mysterious voice that was once alluring and no seemed pained? Who knows. And who really cares when Dusk Log fixes nearly all of these issues in one go? The voice(s) are pushed to the periphery, save the centerpiece dirge “Will The Summer Make Good For All Of Our Sins”, the music boxes are fully wound and the group crucially toes the line between smudgy abstraction and ethereal gloss. A much more satisfying journey, in relation to its counterpart.
[Todd Burns]

The Orb
Komplott 12"
[Kompakt, 2004]

It's been a long road for Dr. Alex Patterson—the guy who went from Killing Joke roadie to inventor of the ambient house monolith to has-been all in the space of five or six years. Yet here he is, 15 years after Orb's seminal debut (nine since their last meaningful record) with his second twelve-inch for Kompakt. Following an encouraging twelve-inch on the German imprint last year and a track for the label's dance-oriented Speicher series, Komplott finds Patterson not longer mining the microhouse genre but putting the Orb stamp on it. A-side "Lunik" schaffels its way through a stuttering clavinet riff and menacing distortion texture before giving way to a "Singin' In the Rain" sample; but where in the past Patterson showed a weakness for the kneeslapper, time has thankfully mellowed the good doctor into a humorist with a subtlety more Python-esque than Benny Hill. B-side "Captain Korma" plays it altogether straighter, with a snappy four-to the-floor disco bass dueling an echoplexed Rhodes, while maximalist set-closer "Falkenbruck" takes the listener back to the chill-out room in Oakenfold's Heaven where it all began. A most fascinating return to the Ultraworld.
[Matthew Weiner]

Heircraft Totem
Heircraft Totem CS
[Polyamory, 2004]

I miss the wilderness. When I was growing up in Florida I could hear sounds similar to these every night when I fell asleep. What’s different is the high density of the insects’ chirping as well as James & Jessica’s sonic additions. By manipulating the insect noises, swells and lulls are generated. A constant chirp runs throughout the entirety of side one and much of side two. On top of that, you might catch delayed voices, echoing clatter and whirring oscillators. Reference points are hard: bullfrog recordings on Folkways, Broken Hearted Dragonflies on Sublime Frequencies, but this is more “hands-on” and as a result, somewhat more engaging.
[Ian Johnson]

Thread Pulls
Summer Songs EP
[Ninepoint Records, 2004]

Summer Songs’ five improvised tracks were recorded by Thread Pulls (guitarist Gavin Duffy, drummer Ed Kelly, and bassist Peter Maybury) during one day-long session in Dublin during June 2004, with vocal and electronic elements added later. Unfortunately, much of the EP reveals the waywardness characteristic of much improvised music, so a promising ostinato pulse of snarling guitars and noises in “Bell Drone,” for example, fails to develop; “Summer” also sounds directionless, and an overlay of thin vocals doesn’t help. “Building” succeeds, though, specifically by suggesting the band’s potential as a Crimson-like metal trio. The label’s site proclaims its desire to “release music that we feel needs to be heard and documented.” A laudable goal certainly, but there’s not much here that sounds like it desperately needed to be preserved.
[Ron Schepper]

Irene Moon/Ortho
Split 7”
[Ignivomous Records, 2004]

Irene Moon is a scientist. No, really. She’s an entomologist by day, letting her love of small things thoraxed translate into a most unique take on sound and performance art. On this beautiful picture disc, Ms. Moon presents “Dentist Auk”, an excerpt from a longer theatrical performance piece. It works quite well, even without the visual aspect of live performance. Some chopped vocals and loungey rhythms introduce the track before the inevitable drilling begins. The operation is then interrupted by a phone call and a sweet song. It’s more than a little David Lynch-like. I don’t know if anyone in Ortho is also involved in entomology, but their contribution “How Humans Would Benefit By Behaving More Like Insects” implies that even if they aren’t professionally, they’ve earned recognition as amateurs. The title also seems to have influenced their creation method. The track sounds like little armies of bees and flies buzzing around each other, battling for prime turf on your inner ear.
[Mike Shiflet]

By: Stylus Staff

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