factory ghosts

JANUSZEWSKI and SZLAZAK - "Split"

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Januszewski and Szlazak - "Split"

(Czaszka Records)

This release is an unusual split because the artists are not restricted to respective sides of the tape. Thus the music plays out like an elaborate call and response between the two artists, making this more of a collaboration than a split. 

Januszewski and Szlazak (credited as Nick Edwards & Stuart Chalmers) create an electronic world full of vibrant life, death, and spiritual existences. Each zone shift brings the listener to a new part of the story. For me, the story took the form of an android working in a factory. At first happy with its work, it slowly becomes full of despair and looks longingly out the window at the world outside, wanting to experience life more fully. Suddenly, a malfunction in the equipment causes a horrific accident that damages the android beyond repair. As its life blinks out of being, the android awakens in an altered state, drifting on the spectral plane. Now free to experience the universe, the android spirit wanders through infinity, taking in all that it sees.

There is a great deal of skillful electronically manipulated music here, with segments of electro-rhythmic pulses, and periods of noise-heavy grinding. Always there is a push/pull between techniques and moods, creating a highly textured listening experience. There are no titles or notes to guide the listener, so you will have to create your own words for the story Januszewski and Szlazak are telling through song.

Gray Lee

https://czaszka.bandcamp.com/album/split

FICTIONAL GIRLFRIEND - "Perfume Garden"

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Fictional Girlfriend - "Perfume Garden"

(Junk Maker Sounds) 

A good bit of the vaporwave genre tries to capture a hyper-technological retro future filled with neon-lit Tokyo alleyways and Greek statues listening to boomboxes with anime schoolgirls, but Fictional Girlfriend has something else in mind entirely - a dark, brooding dronefest in the confined service corridors of an oppressive, rusted factory.

There are certainly strong vaporwave tendencies here, such as in the intro to the opening track Double Ought Gardens, but for a larger part of the release, the focus is on well-constructed ambient drone pieces that invoke a close, anxious, boiler-room-at-night kind of feeling.  Phobes Breath would be a perfect example of this. It is a brilliantly dark piece that conjures flickering ghosts in shadowy corners. 

Despite the spooky, unsettling vibe - or perhaps because of it - Perfume Gardens is a densely packed audio experience that one finds themselves returning to, perhaps trying to unravel the mystery again., earning the Houdini Mansions stamp of: [Highly Recommend]

Gray Lee

 https://junkmakersounds.bandcamp.com/album/perfume-garden