Inception / Aftermath

The cool thing about Nodolby is, he makes pretty much whatever the heck he wants. His tapes on Stunned, D’Artagnan, and 905 Tapes, along with the split with Pregnant Spore all suggest a noise head is at work. But make no bones about it, this tape is a smooth synth jam. Imagine the aurora borealis, but underwater. On Inception/Aftermath, Nodolby constructs a giant sonic plexiglass prism, fills it and lights it up for us to hear this impossible marvel. Starting off with an unassuming ‘pedal point’ (using the term loosely, but the effect is similar), soon higher pitched delayed streams of gurbles and a farfisa-esque synth enter the field. These foreground elements are framed by (what sounds like) faint screeching of strings passing through momentarily. The raw materials are humble, appearing to be mostly sine waves compressed, delayed, arpeggiated and filtered in various ways. A constant, insistent set of tones pulse under multiple filters as a strobe, providing the listener a rhythmic context, although I would hesitate to call it a countable meter of any sort. The crazy thing is, you can still tap your foot to it!

Aftermath takes the adventure a step further, emerging into the atmosphere. The mood is more tranquil and less ecstatic than the A side. Space opens up to reveal lights from a distance on a lonely landscape. It proceeds from test tones revolving around a nasal lead and other broken square wave compatriots, to some daring stretches towards polytonality when an arpeggiated synth appears to march to a different key (if it could be said to be constrained by a key at all after the notes are slightly melted and blurred with pitch effects). These blotches are slashed by the occasional razor thin synth, which sounds to be emulating the rattling of strings against a fretboard.

The Nodolby moniker has never been more appropriate than for this particular effort, as the recording is unbelievably pristine and full of high-end shimmer. In other words, you would be well advised to turn the Dolby filter off on this doozy to let the upper registers ring free and clear. There is no need to worry about unpleasant buzzing and hissing intruders. Arresting on first listen, yet with plenty of secrets to plumb on subsequent listens, Inception / Aftermath is a unique treat among the treasures of 2012, kosmiche synth avalanche notwithstanding.


Field Hymns

February 18th, 2013