Thursday, November 28, 2013



Hyster Tapes [Hyster 16]/Ikuisuus IKU-039]. Split LP

I first listened to this LP back in September after returning from the Cleckheaton Beer Festival. It was one of those perfect late summer days when the sun shone brilliantly and the sky was a brilliant azure, not a single cloud in sight. Arriving home I put my feet up and put Varropas on the turntable [it had arrived that morning], within minutes I was instantly adrift, the beer swirling around my head, the sun beaming through the window, it was one of those unforgettable moments in life when everything seems just about perfect. And then I fell asleep.

Such is the languorous pace that Varropas proceeds at I decided that the only way to experience it and report back was by being in a fully awake, fully alert state. I had a bit of a wait but when I found the prime conditions I played it again. And then again. And again. And I’ve been playing it about once a week ever since. I may end up playing it over and over again for the rest of my life.

Varropas are a Finnish duo who create loop like sounds from [lets look at the cover and guess] cassette tapes. The results aren’t that dissimilar from what Stuart Chalmers is doing in Bristol and in his quieter moments Neil Campbell - multi layered loops of tape tone and synth and electric guitar all mixed to form a new whole with, I dare say, the odd electronic gadget being poked at during the right moments and perhaps a toy piano, I could of course be totally wrong. Add in some dubby sound effects and the result is one of those extremely rare releases that begs to be played continuously.

There are two side long tracks with ‘Clipperty’ setting the pace with a Sci-fi like soundtrack where an alien nation sends down greetings to earth via the medium of some carefully played reverbed synth keys. The Clangers exchange greetings afore a stoned out of his head John Fahey remembers he can only remember five notes and plays them in a loop until the needle lifts. Its a spaced out stoner classic with traces of an electric guitar bleeding through like Fripp trying to turn Eno on with some languid rolls down the fretboard, the gentle rocking of a wooden ball in a hollow log. And thats the way its stays for the best part of a quarter of an hour.

‘Bogdanovin Tektologiya’ picks up the baton on side two and its here that the dub effects really take effect - a wheezy accordion lets go a repeated solitary note, a teleprinter churns out the football results, a banjo string is plucked from twenty miles away. The pace is funeral in the extreme, like wading through syrup after ingesting to much Largactil. Its a weed burners dream where the pace is reduced to bare life presence, a blip on the monitor, still breathing but only just.

Varropas have appeared before via Hyster, a label who release plenty of good music of a similar vein, most of it on recycled cassettes that cost but one single euro to purchase. Its one of those labels that you envisage as being your own in a ‘no promo bar photocopies flyers and only a very basic website’ way. Its a split with fellow Finnish troupers Ikuisuus  and one of my favourite LP’s of the year.





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