Thursday, March 03, 2011


Misery [all track titles in Russian]
Liniya Shuma. 23 Copies.
Originally released in 1999/2000

Not a review but the first in a series of downloads culled from tapes from my own collection that I believe deserve a wider audience.

I first heard of Misery back in the late 90’s via one of the Betley Welcomes Careful Drivers catalogues. Misery were from Russia and that intrigued me a lot. There were Russians making noises? Well, why not? They make it everywhere else. So I bought the tape and got in touch with the man behind Misery, a certain Andrey Ivanov. We kept in touch for a few years and then as usually happens we stopped corresponding.
Then last week a review of one of Misery's releases appeared on the MuhMur blog and that got me digging around. I have a few things by Misery but the one that I cherish most is a homemade cassette that ran to just 23 copies.
Now I’ve seen my share of home made cassettes but this one blew me away: laminates, glued on dried leaf, tiny squares of card carrying logo and info, a personalized insert and all of it housed in a sumptuous little flip top box all held together with knotted string. Even the cassette itself has been sanded down with the Misery logo etched into both sides. Exquisite.
But its not all fur coat and no knickers. Having reacquainted myself with this C60 I can honestly say that age hasn’t harmed it one bit and I don’t mean technically. Its bleak Industrial ambinece at its finest. Side one track one [there’s four in all and my Russians not up to much so forgive me] is pure desolation. There's squeaky gate hinges, a recurring motif that sounds like a bleak wind, then empty bottles rolling down a street. The second track is equally morose featuring distant fog horns, looped voices, disintegration. Both tracks create the same kind of atmospheres as exemplified by William Basinski, sadness, melancholy, unease. If I’m being honest, the second side is a bit weaker than the first but don’t let this put you off trying it.

I’m pretty sure Andrey was using analogue tape at this time but as with all great works you’re never really sure how he creates his sounds. As far as I can remember most of his work was of a similar nature. I’ll have to dig deeper and reacquaint myself further.

I’m no longer signed up to Myspace so if someone could pass this on for me I would be eternally grateful.

A shorter version of track two side one can be found on the Myspace site.

Two other things: I can’t seem to rid myself of some kind of interference when transcribing these tapes [I’ll crack it honest - I think its the phone]. It is very low level though, barely audible and in no way detracts from the listening experience. Next up: Sudden Infant - Bye Bye Berlin.

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