Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hyster Tapes and the no audience underground.

Uton/Grey Park
Split cassette. 50 copies. €3 or trade.

Over at Radio Free Midwich my comrade in arms, Rob Hayler, is basking in the warm glow of recognition as bestowed upon him by the music critic and writer Simon Reynolds. For those who missed it Reynolds keynote speech at last months Incubate festival gave mention to Rob and the ‘the no audience underground’ a phrase that Rob has coined to describe the world in which a 20 minute 3 inch CDR of 25 copies containing a fierce howling drone can bring on raptures capable of wild and enthusiastic discourse. Its not all howling drone of course, the remit covers just about anything of a ‘difficult nature’ that exists on labels run by people with buckets of enthusiasm and not much money. Its a place where small run editions and hand decoration are the norm, where the cassette and CDR are king, where emails and blog posts create a nexus that unfolds until you have a small community where the name Midwich means everything and profit is a laughable and easily discarded conecpt. Its a world in which me and Rob feel the most comfortable in. It’s a very different one from the slick celebrity, force fed, iTune friendly, clinically sliced, stunted attention span, regurgitated Guardianista mediocrity that passes for whatever flows down mainstream street in 2012.

In the no audience underground you receive a recycled tape from a label in Finland. A label that is a favourite of mine due to the fact that they release unclassifiable but wonderful music at the rate of about one cassette a year. This is the 16th Hyster release in 14 years.

Previous packages have included demented piano hammerings from France, Soviet radio broadcasts, drones, needles stuck in fluff filled grooves, industrial ambience, guitar abuse, tapes, synths, lap tops, talking, singing, found sounds, abused disco and the odd struck bass string, all from a variety of names most of whom will be new to those who never dip a toe into such waters: Dieter Müh, Culver, Courtis, Re-Clip and Crank Sturgeon to name but a few.

Uton describe their sounds as ‘experimental psychedelia’ which works OK, but I’d much prefer haunting ritualistic missives in which Keiji Heino mutters the odd word into an egg whisk [this on Sähköhomooni]. On ‘Aquarias’ the warbling vocalese as last heard on Hamburger Lady reappears this time with a trickling stream, restrained guitar thrash and gently struck milk bottles for company, its as if motherly Gen was trying to sing you to sleep whilst Heino [him again] practices downstairs with his headphones on. The rest is equally as joyous.

Grey Park’s three tracks span 1979 to 2012. I’m guessing ‘Black Keys’ is the more recent work, a looped two note synth refrain that morphs into a seriously melancholy thrum in which the movie sampled phrase ‘black keys’ is looped and morphed into decay. ‘Waiting Music’ is a mid Hertz hum with wheezing accordion and tapped cymbal for company and I’m guessing that the one minute and twenty seven seconds of electric guitar scrape, bass pluck, drone and adult voice manipulated to sound like a baby crying is the track from 1979. If so, then bravo.

This then is a prime example of what I’m dreading will become the acronym NAU [or should that be TNAU?]; around forty minutes of wonderment destined to never reach more than the fifty people who go to the effort to get one of these. But what lucky people those fifty are.


Radio Free Midwich

Simon Reynolds at Incubate [RFM mentioned at 38 minutes]

1 comment:

Steve said...

An excellently written and finely observed piece sir.
Hyster Tapes has become one of thee finest cassette labels of the 21st Century. So much sound to discover with each release - now it is Uton. Agreed that Uton should reach a large(r) audience than this cassette, but there is stuff out there by the guy if the (non) audience can be bothered to go on a product hunt.
Soon the no audience underground will have its' own magazine for sale in WH Smiths and be called "Beneath The Radar". Mark my words ...