Friday, 24 August 2012

Ekoplekz / Wanda Group - Split Cassette

Growing up in the 1970s and 80s, cassettes were as much a part of my musical DNA as vinyl. They were viewed by our purist elders as a sonically inferior reduction of reel to reel technology and by the record labels as nothing short of a threat to their livelihood. To us they represented the gateway to an endless source of new albums which few of us could afford to buy and a tool to express ourselves via the mixtape format.

Over the past few years, vinyl has made a significant comeback but more surprisingly, so has the humble cassette. There are now a few rather excellent labels specialising in releases on this gloriously outdated medium - NNA Tapes being one of our favourite purveyors of ferric delights.

Further Records was established a few years ago in the US by Mark Cul and his partner to issue limited run cassettes, each with handmade inserts. They now have a Bandcamp page selling digital versions of these tapes for those folks without the requisite playback hardware.

This latest release features a side each from so much noise favourite Nick Edwards as Ekoplekz and the rather intriguingly named Wanda Group, an alias of Louis Johnstone, the man behind the brilliantly deranged Dem Hunger.

Nick Edwards turns in an incredible twenty minute A side titled 'Dead Escalator Suite' which cycles through all manner of dubbed out ephemera coated in his trademark submerged sonic patina. At around the halfway mark, reverb takes hold of the track displacing everything but it's trace elements before plunging headlong into a twisted coda of malfunctioning radiophonics.

The B side is no less absorbing, Louis Johnstone delivers a smudged and bruised smear of sound shot through with field recordings, vinyl crackle and a concatenated series of exercises in microtonal electronic manipulations. It's a beautifully refined take on his previous, more rhythmic output as Dem Hunger. 

The cassette has long since sold out as it was originally issued in a run of only one hundred units, a digital download is however available from the Further Records Bandcamp page.

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