Wednesday, September 23, 2020
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cover
Artist: RNL (@)
Title: Conquering King Kong
Format: Tape
Label: Vonconflon (@)
Rated: *****
RNL is the work of one Jesse Farber, who is an accomplished visual artist. According to the artist, “Conquering King Kong is a 45-minute trail through mental states and thought patterns, an abstract audio film that unspools with the logic of a dream. Woven together from a massive archive of tapes, the album builds ambient spaces and puzzling sound objects out of location recordings, found sounds, private performances, and endless analog and digital manipulation.” So let’s see if the music is as good as the visual artwork.

The music on the tape is heavily synth-based, with bits of field recordings and voice thrown in for good measure. For example, the tape begins with pulsing drone that adds a layer of noise like a helicopter spinning up and preparing for takeoff, followed by a series of staccato, barking synth hits with a thin layer of warbling flutelike sounds. Later on, we have someone beating sticks against the floor with the sound of a howling wind outside. Turning the tape over, we begin with a short, interesting ditty with percussion that gives a sense of marching band, more drone, some heavily processed voice,and more synth based noise with a heavy beat. Overall, this is pleasant, but it began to get a bit dull and predictable at times. RNL is at their best when they incorporate other elements besides the synth or going beyond the standard drone (the heavily processed voice, for example).

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