Leitmotiv Limbo - Minimal Sphere
Servataguse Muusika. SM004. Cassette
A cassette that set off from Australia on the the last day in July and arrived here six weeks later. Maybe it had to be quarantined on the way? Maybe it went in to the same bag as the Dr Steg postcard with the razor blades on it and when it got as far as Cleckheaton sorting office it had to be x-rayed by a team of experts [no further news on that particular incident by the way] or maybe they just gently squeezed the jiffy bag and went ‘nahh … it feels like a cassette to me mate, put it in with the regular mail’, ‘a cassette?’ comes the reply ‘didn’t they like die a death when CD’s came out? like when the internet took over music like the Mafia does your business demanding protection money, explaining to you very quietly and with a hint of menace that this is the way things are going to be from now on?’
I quite like this cassette with its alliteration and its printed red j-card Led Zeppelin font. I have no idea what the black, half Rorschach alien dagger splat is on the cover and I doubt it adds anything to the release itself seeing as how this is eight tracks of grimy, minimalist, buried beats as made with ‘analogue instruments of carefully selected materials’ [a black and white image of a decaying corpse or a 1950’s nuclear bunker would have been more in keeping but thats where we are]. For those of you who judge books by their cover, and I count myself amongst that number, this cassette could have contained anything from re-workings of Jimmy Page’s soundtrack parpings to some kind of techno homage. Not that I’m going to try and educate anybody as to what it is they put their releases in but still ... you see where I’m coming from here.
Because the cassette took so long to arrive a digital version appeared in the interim. And when compared side by side the difference is of such staggering proportions that you’d think you were listening to a different release entirely, the grime of the cassette wiped clean by sterile Covid-19 swabs, washed clean by people in plastic smocks wearing masks and latex gloves. I took myself off to the Servataguse Muusika YouTube channel to test this out and found Elijah [for tis he] standing at a couple of tables in an Adelaide pub making sounds that resemble Aphex Twin [au naturel] circa Selected Ambient Sounds, Panasonic, Chris Carter’s TG sludge, all from four wooden boxes with wires coming out of them. For a moment I came over all nostalgic and pined for a gig, any kind of gig, but particularly one where pub tables are shoved together and people sit and listen and nod in-between going to the bar for a pint and then you get talking to somebody you haven’t seen in years and you miss the rest of the set entirely only to be told that that was the best gig anybody had seen since Government Alpha nearly jammed with Tony Conrad, I mean people were actually fainting from the sheer beauty of it all, they couldn’t handle its intensity but you were at the fucking bar getting another bottle of Erdinger.
But I digress. The eight tracks of minimal Sphere have names like Planning and Plotting, Guardian of an Other Order, What Just Happened, Flotilla on Fluid Crystal. Maybe its the miles between us thats causing some kind of temporal dislodge-ment on my behalf but this just works for me right now. Had this arrived from a suburb of Hull I might have been less impressed but between Australia and this small room on the other side of the world a transformation has taken place and these eight tracks, most of them not much more than a couple of minutes in duration, have become so much more than their whole. It might not blown your mind and it might not be the best thing you hear all week but for a moment there I was listening to a cassette of homemade synth sounds and all was well with the world. I hope you buy one. I hope you don’t have to wait six weeks for it to arrive.