Saturday, April 30, 2011

John Zuma St. Pelvyn - Ampex, Stolaroff, Dogwood, Rain

Tapes like this make me love working for KZSU.

"Ampex, Stolaroff, Dogwood, Rain" is a sort of "holy quadropy" of sorts, a 41-minute audio recording that seems to serve as field notes documenting excursions into a very sparse, minimalist landscape.

While mostly bleak and left-field experimental, it is also delicate in a very pristine, romantic sense--evoking images of the rotten wood bridges, the untouched branches of frozen trees, and the cities that aren't on the map.

And just like the world that surrounds us, this release challenges us and begs to be interpreted. It is a hard listen, but to quote the poet Pablo Antonio Cuadra: "I want a place difficult like poetry." There is something immensely rewarding about dancing in the fringes of the unknown--seeking out meaning and being denied repeatedly. Enduring late nights, with wind blowing out your candles, red eyes, and bleary vision and then finally: in the midst of madness, reaching out blindly and feeling your fingers graze, and then fully grasp, reason and understanding.

This tape, from Minnesota-based Lighten Up Sounds, is further evidence that cassettes are the best medium to ever grace this (or any neighboring) planet. It comes packaged in a clear oversized audiobook case with a complimentary bag of shredded wood, a printed vellum insert, and was apparently recorded in our backyard. Recommended to those of us who love a challenge.

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