Monday, August 16, 2010
Patrick Emm - Like I Used To Could
I love the out-of-the-blue drone that gets submitted to me. Makes my day that much better. Patrick Emm is another in a long line of amazing Boston based sound makers and Mythics is his debut release put out on the self-run Pinebox. But don't let the whole "debut" thing fool you. This disc is top fucking notch.
3 long tracks, each hovering around 15 minutes, and each a different slice of beauty than the rest. Mythics opens with "Like I Used To Could," a slow burning mourner, absolutely gorgeous in it's ability to toss lead blankets on your heart and make you weep gray tears of misery. It's full of wobbling organs, soaring static, and majestic buzz that should be used for a rainy day prehistoric death scene showing Homo erectus baffled by the fact that his best bud isn't waking up. It gets ridiculously grand, ramping up the volume and the distortion until it's a hulking mass of gorgeous sadness. If you played this at my funeral it would fucking tear everybody apart.
"Swamp Buck" is more of a field recording piece with a foundation of wind and a distant jet engine perhaps? Or maybe a less distant vacuum cleaner. Then there's some more sad synth, though not nearly as heavy as before and it sounds like single tones instead of sweeping swaths. Very minimal, continuing with the synth and adding in some mysterious brushing sounds, later joined by muffled crowds? Nothing is easily identifiable and I'm sure that's the point. Taking field recordings out of their real world context, using them solely for their sound properties, and it works well having them contrasted with the digitally manufactured synth tones.
The final track, "Clopening," is a bit more song-like in structure, at least in comparison to the previous two. It opens with recordings of human voices, again unintelligible, and brings in a meandering reverbed guitar, the two going back and forth, the voices briefly dominating the guitar before it comes back with another layer of feedback. Very intense & unsettling, like stumbling upon an empty haunted shack in the desert emanating ancient sounds of rust. The voices & guitar fade, replaced by construction noises, sharpening blades & buzzsaw chimes, whirlwinds of sand drowning out the droning synth.
Mythics isn't quite like anything I've heard. The drone & field recordings mixed with isolation & sadness, lo & hi fidelity, synths & tape hiss, it's just fucking great. Patrick Emm is clearly a new dude who's got the chops to handle joining the already packed Boston experimental scene. Do yourself a favor and grab one of the 100 limited copies of Mythics before it's gone.