Daniel Thomas - Keep the Red Kites Flying.
Cherry Row Recordings. CRR 010. Black CDR
I’ve been reading David Toop’s book ‘Haunted Weather’ mainly in a futile attempt to make myself more familiar with the nether regions of this [and Toop’s] musical planet. The pages did turn and the lad can write, as easy on the eye when extolling the virtues of people like sound artist Akio Suzuki or the 70’s improv scene in England or Pan Sonic and then, just when I’m getting a grip on him the words ‘stochastic resonance’ spill from the page and I’m once more the thick kid in the maths class chewing the end of his pencil, brain gone to mush when faced with, what for everybody else, is the answer to a simple maths question with brackets in it.
Still, I quite like the sound of stochastic resonance and now that I’ve seen it on the page and know that its a ‘thing’ I plan to use it whenever the opportunity arises; ballads about the sea sung by retired fishermen, ambient Merzbow releases, the new YOL, the possibilities are endless. Stochastic resonance even has a Wiki page and according to it its an ‘area of intense research’. What it actually is ‘is a phenomenon where a signal that is normally too weak to be detected by a sensor, can be boosted by adding white noise to the signal’. Theres more to it than that of course [why else would it be the subject of intense research] but for the uninitiated [me] I see it more as fiddling around with some buttons until a sound appears.
Can I use stochastic resonance in regards to what Daniel Thomas produces? Why not. There’s loads of it or, as is more likely the case, none at all. It makes no odds, its still one of his best releases.
I’ve not been the cheeriest of champions towards Thomas and his Cherry Row imprint of late. The last couple have been distinctly below par and I was beginning to think he’d blown his wad creative wise. I gave him my version of a mercy killing by not reviewing them. But like the solid citizen that he is he doesn’t take his bat home and instead carries on sending me them. This pays off in dividends when after what must be many a month since its initial release, I finally get the to invest in Red Kites the time it deserves and find within its black frame three tracks of contemplative sci-fi spaceship beating heart mainframe electronics that just about pops my socks and gets the five repeat max treatment.
I’ve seen him play live a few times but not recently. Mainly down the Wharf, each time creating atmospheres where time slows to a sludge pace, a crawling soundtrack containing movements that move at a glacial place that may or may not have been once upon a time termed ‘extraction music’ by the Bearded Wonder.
The best track on the album is ‘Enjoy Defiance’ a broken down analogue signaling machine emitting random sunspotted ‘toks’ to a steady 4/4 snare [or the electronic equivalent of] that puts on weight and density like a bodybuilder on steroids. Not unlike the aforementioned Pan Sonic with Leeds and its suburb Sheepscar standing in for Turku and Tampere. A far remove from earlier DT works and the not to be mentioned Cherry Row release that I fear contained some stuck out like sore thumbs 50’s movie samples. No doubt there are labels dedicated to such electronica but I couldn’t tell you the name of one of them. Thomas deserves to be on one of them though. His work has matured and judging from ‘Kites’ its worth you and other labels, seeking out.
‘Float’ and ‘Construction’ are no fillers either. The former a Forbidden Planet outtake that you could almost dance to, a subtle drone underpinning mutated ethnic rhythms before various fizzing ectoplasm's emerge. The latter a lone drive home through Ballardian underpasses, TG like grime smearing the windscreen, cars passing in the opposite direction leaving behind glowing tail light flares.
The online dictionary definition for stochastic reads thus; ‘having a random probability distribution or pattern that may be analysed statistically but may not be predicted precisely’. Resonance I know. I could have turned a corner here. I quite like the sound of the both of them. Literally.
Cherry Row Recordings