Friday, 31 August 2012

PHORK - Discrepancies

You'd think that finding information about new music in these ultra-connected times would be simplicity itself, especially now most of us have a decent web browser on our smartphones and constant internet connectivity. Occasionally though, a band decides to choose a moniker that wilfully skews our search results to the point which they almost become anonymous - a rare feat in 2012.

After running a few searches in preparation for this piece, I discovered the following available definitions;

PHORK - a flexible, open source PHP 5 framework.
PHORK - a specially constructed piece of cutlery which bends when exposed to body temperature.
PHORK - a branch of physical activity or social practice.

All of these are correct in their own particular context of course, but they are also incorrect. PHORK is actually an acronym for People's Higher Order of Royal Kinship.

The man behind all this search engine confusion is Neal Reinalda who is one of the founder members of an art gallery and studio called Open Space which is located in the Remington neighbourhood of Baltimore City. Discrepancies is his second release this year as PHORK and his first on the always wonderful NNA Tapes.

The tape starts with a mournful drone which floats languidly across a bed of static and various found sounds; rainfall, creaking wood, overheard conversations, a subway train pulling out of it's station - all held together by a single kick drum. It's simple but beautifully effective and sets a high benchmark for the next forty minutes. 

There are many more highlights; 'III' is a twitchy, phased and flanged skeletal dub techno joint during which a recording of a heated series of exchanges is woven into it's digital fabric whilst 'IV' uses a sparse electro rhythm track and gradually pushes the beats together into overlapping percussive eddies.

The press release dubs this tape a "surrealist techno collage" which is a pretty good place to begin it's descriptors. To my ears though, these eight tracks are as much about what isn't there as what obviously is, the myriad embedded details and judicious use of field recordings simply beg for endless replay. Neal Reinalda has created something fantastic here, a set of tracks which are not only deeply experimental but also eminently accessible. 

Copies of the C50 cassette can be obtained directly from the NNA Tapes website, digital downloads are widely available too.

No comments:

Post a Comment