Friday, July 17, 2009

Katchmare - Hand In The Water (Scissor Death, 2009)

Katchmare - Icy Masters

Katchmare (aka Nick Hoffman) is a mostly new-to-me name. A while back I picked up a split tape he did with Ophibre on Tape Drift that was pretty awesome. For some reason, I never reviewed it. Go figure. Anyway, I liked his side quite a bit but never did a whole lot of research on the guy. Then I found out he's got a new double tape release on Scissor Death called Hand In The Water.

The first tape has two "rejected studio compositions" that got un-rejected and made it onto this new offering. Have no fear, though. These songs are absolutely deserving of an official release and worthy for your listening pleasure. Both pieces, "Icy Masters" & "Holy Dread," are like an enormous seemingly blank canvas painted with disappearing ink. Plenty of tape hiss and background noise that has no physical substance. But when you hold it in the right light, haunting tones make their way into your ear canals. There is the occasional aural barrage, with sounds like a broken robot typewriter stuck on a single key, repeating for an entire minute or waves of backwards tape coming in and out of focus.

The second tape was recorded live at Elastic Arts in Chicago and both sides have the same title: "April 13, 2009." The A side starts with what I can only assume was the house music, some jazzy old school lounge tune. I love how that wasn't edited out because what Katchmare plays afterwards is so far from the house music that it's not even funny. If Hoffman was performing in a venue that plays that kind of lounge music regularly, I can only imagine the type of audience he had. Luckily, the crowd (if there is one) is mostly silent, though perhaps only due to sheer terror and/or confusion.

This live piece has much more of an actual foundation than the studio recorded ones. It starts out with dark, thick, rumbling drones that give way for shrill tones that are highly abrasive. Like steel wool lasers cleaning out your ears. They dance the line of "how long will these people take this" but fortunately they're never sustained for a long enough time to permanently damage you or anything. And right before the 9 minute mark, it explodes. Briefly. It's a contained explosion that immediately collapses in on itself before it destroys it's creator. Then there's some mild-in-comparison industrial construction for a couple of minutes before the tape ends. Flip it over.

Those shrill notes at the beginning of the live performance are made out to be soothing lullabies compared to how the B side starts. Higher, longer, more scratchy, wobbly, diamond cutting shrieks that I can only assume cross most people's threshold of enjoyment and tolerance level. But just because you made it this far doesn't mean you can handle the rest. It's all thunder and lightning for the rest of the show. Stretched out dentist drill drones, bursts of jackhammers and nail guns, tons of stuff not for the faint of heart. But if you can make it through, you're all the better for it. As Calvin's Dad would say, "It builds character."

1 comment:

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