Tag Archives: bioharmonics

[Review: Venn Rain, ‘Bioharmonics’]

This is it. The one you wait for.

Regardless of how many of these cassettes you get sent to your house directly from the label (who is usually also the artist), they’re always good, quality sounds because they’re wholly unique, like slices of an individual psyche preserved on magnetic tape for closer examination. Thus, you’ve grown to fancy yourself a discriminate culturateur who can appreciate what is impossible to categorize.  Admittedly, though, most of the time it’s not necessarily the aesthetics found within these ever-so-personal audio experiments that make them worthwhile. No–for me anyway–it’s usually more academic. Maybe it’s the socio-economic implications of the noise that comes careening into my overpriced headphones that makes them interesting. Something about those sounds and the way their arranged, seems to imply something about the subconscious, or society, or the cosmos . . . or something.

And this is fine. Because eventually, every once in a while–without even realizing it until you hear it–you come across it. The one you’ve been waiting for. The one whose twists and turns you can somehow anticipate almost as if you have traversed down a similar path at some point and you are now recalling the journey in vivid aural fashion. The one that seems singular somehow, as if set apart because not only is it a slice of an individual psyche, but it is a rather fascinating slice that speaks to you, or even gives voice to your own compatible ideas, when many other simply blurt at you in an interesting, but incomprehensibly foreign tongue. This is the one that gives you pause because it reminds you of what you were originally in search of when you began this strange postmodern hunting expedition. It’s not only sonically interesting in an academic manner, but it is aesthetically affirming.

Still unclear on what exactly it is? Well, if it were something expressible in written language than you have indeed been tracking the wrong prey. But you haven’t been. In fact, it takes a cassette like Venn Rain’s Bioharmonics. A simple little cassette that reminds you only through sonic exploration can a particularly deep emotion, idea, or memory, or something be stirred awake to consult even if it’s only for a brief moment. And of course not all sound-fueled journeys can penetrate into that submerged reservoir where those emotions, ideas, or memories settle like caked levels of earth. Some come close, while others merely skim the surface. But it’s not until it arrives. The one you wait for.  The one that–for whatever inexplicable reason–does the job on you.

In this case, maybe its the hypnotic drums coursing underneath heavy layers of analog synths on “Marble Mist,” or the strangely sampled spatial arrangements explored on both “Flow Motion” and “The History of Things,” or the blissfully looped submission of “Phosphene Scene.” Regardless, this is one of those rare cassettes that just has something that pulls you in deeper than you normally go. It may not do it for anyone else, the way their favorite cassette falls flat on you, but it doesn’t matter. Because it has been found and this strange foraging urge that our Neolithic ancestors expressed through the hunt has been briefly satiated and ultimately renewed so that the search for the next it can begin.  In the meantime, Biohramonics–the latest in a long line of its from Buffalo-based label House of Alchemy–gets a reserved parking spot on your cassette rack so that you can reach for it quickly in times of need when you require a reminder of what the hell it is all about.

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Review by Cameron Alexander


[Archive 09.19.12]

1) Venn Rain, “Phosphene Scene,” Bioharmonics (House of Alchemy)
2) Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, “Nostradamus & Me,” Mature Themes (4AD)
3) Loscil, “Container Ships,” Sketches from New Brighton (Kranky)
4) Josh Mason, “JM3440_C,” Josh Mason/Nathan McLaughlin Split (Tape Drift)
5) Tomutonttu, “Live at Kiasma” September 8, 2012
6) UVB-76, “Dale”
7) JT Rinker,” Haole,” Out of Nowhere: Electro-Acoustic Music from the Upstate Fringe (Big Orbit)
8) University of Toronto Electronic Music Studio, “Dripsody”
9) Mercury Rev, “Pick Up if You’re There,” Deserter’s Songs Instrumentals
10) Aidan Baker and Tim Hecker, “Gallery of the Invisible Woman,” Fantasma Parastasie
11) Nate Young, “Sleep Anxiety” Regression (Ideal) 
12) Lindstrom, “Call Me Anytime (Oneohtrix Point Never remix)”
13) Jax Deluca, Pat Cain, and Martin Freeman, “Beating Synths” Recorded in august 2012 at the Institute for Electronic Arts, Alfred University, NY.
14) Steven Hess/Christopher McFall, “I,” The Inescapable Fox (Under the Spire)
15) Downsampling, “Action Figure,” Playthings
16) Scanner, “Hiss Concrete”
17) Lawrence English, “Entoloma Abortivum, For/Not For John Cage (LINE)
18) Windy & Carl, “Sketch for Flea”