Tape-A-Day #1

Boar / Mason split C30 (Breaching Static/Solitary Machine, 2017)

Dubuque’s own cut-up king, Boar, presents a 15 minute track showcasing his subtlety with the form. As harsh as things get, Boar brings it down at all the right times, then builds it back up to new heights. This thoughtful use of dynamics is one of the things that sets Boar apart from – and beyond – a lot of his peers. The sound is full – can harsh noise be described as “lush”? – with enough reverb for the recording to sound alive. The frequencies are round, with even the high-end squeals having a warmth to them. There is a cinematic quality toward the end of the side, a horror soundtrack full of pauses and pulses, fading into blackened end credits.

Mason’s side was my recorded introduction to him. I met Abe at a show we played in Cleveland, Tennessee, where I gripped this tape. Gem of a cat, to be sure, and his noise ain’t so bad either. Mason’s side starts with a repetitive rhythmic figure that immediately descends into vicious cut-up territory. As soon as he establishes the harsh, flickers of ambient sound interrupt, giving way to full-on glimpses of silence. Sounds limp on loop, disintegrating and regenerating. As violent as this track is, it is also FUN. Bit crusher used to great effect, high-end feedback gets smashed and slashed with aplomb. Themes are established, then glitched out to all shit soon as you think you know what’s going down. Eventually the silences become more pronounced, noise being the interruption as opposed to narration, with the sample at the end providing sober reflection.

This split appears to be sold out, but Breaching Static released a split in 2019 with each artist remixing the other, which is available here: https://breachingstatic.bandcamp.com/album/isolationist

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