Friday, January 04, 2019
Grey Park - Olic banquet
Hyster Tapes. Hyster26.
Its been a while but here’s another release from Grey Park on the ever reliable, open to trades, analogue only, recycled Finnish cassette label Hyster Tapes. I’ve just been perusing their rudimentary, two page, not changed since the year dot, perfectly formed website and most of the reviews on it appear to come from me and the Bearded Wonder with a smattering of Vital Weekly and Tape Gods thrown in for good measure. This made me realize that I write a load of old shit at times and repeat myself ad nauseum. Hey ho.
Grey Park releases have been passing through these hands for many years now and I’ve never heard one that disappointed me. Packaging has always been a highlight with one release arriving in an inside out coffee bean bag, the artwork stenciled in red onto the shiny once inner, now outer surface. Olic banquet arrives in a slip of white paper with the twelve track info typewritten in glorious not computer font old typewriter font. The cassette is of course recycled and runs through most of one side most of what is, I’m assuming, a C90 before the news in Finnish kicks in. The flip is still blank and there for you to use should you choose to.
We find Grey Park on the Experimental Industrial Ambience floor of the Sound Building of Life, their sound that of someone sweeping the floor of an abandoned factory while listening to a distant 1940’s German shortwave radio thats had its last working speaker kicked in. This is best captured on the second track, a ten minute live outing from 2013, a succinct and oddly beautiful trawl through dead frequencies but let Olic banquet wash over you and you will find yourself subjected to; Chinese language tapes being stretched over capstans, the neighing [and trotting] of a horse looped in to rhythmic structures, the click of a run-off groove buffeted by lo-fi rumblings as a female voice drifts in to the ether, the clang of a dead steel triangle hit metronomically as a record is spun backwards at a ridiculously fast BPM. And on and on. A veritable panoply of odd sounds, murk and delight.
Todays news revealed that cassettes sales have gone through the roof, mainly thanks to certain popular artists making cassettes part of their release schedule. From being the dominant format 27 years ago they now account for a paltry 1% of total physical sales. Tiny numbers that will no doubt stay tiny long after a new generation of people who cant quite believe two plastic shells holding sellotape with iron filings on them can actually carry sound, has long since worn off. A part of me still likes cassettes though. I have a great affection for them and despite their obvious flaws that will remain so. And while Kylie might shift a few of her latest on cassette I find pop music a total flirt capable of living quite happily on any format with mobile phone being perhaps the mode of choice these days. In contrast, I find experimental music thrives on cassette. Find a cassette player with automatic reverse play and you can listen on a loop, the gentle click of the tape swapping side your only reminder of the outside world. Let it ever be so.