I wrote this review in real time, while listening to this tape:
Ok, here we go. To be fair, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I like to order new music from Beartown every once in a while. They release some great tapes and CD-R’s every so often so I added this one to my order because it was a new release and because I’m one of those, apparently increasingly rare, species of music listeners who like to check out the unknown. I’ll buy an album because I’m curious about the cover art or because I follow the label (I really need more of these kinds of listeners to check out my own label, Fabrica Records, because stuff ain’t selling like it used to and I can’t afford to hire PR people to sell listeners on it). I’d only seen Stuart Chalmers name on another cassette release because it happened to be on Invisible City, another great cassette label from the UK. Anyways…
The first few minutes of Side A gave me headache, and not like a good “Oh Shit I ate ice cream too fast!” headache, more like “oh shit my head hurts” kinda headache. The first few minutes are a jumble of sounds like 5 CD’s skipping simultaneously. It’s almost, almost, as annoying as all that quirky tape loop manipulation nonsense that some noise-techno people are into. But then things calm down and Stuart creates some interesting electro-ambient sounds using loops. It could almost be the foundation for some hip-hop or trip-hop (is this still a genre?). Not bad at all. Maybe not really my thing, but he does what he does really well. Also his name is Stuart Chalmers… that’s a cool fucking name. Not as a cool as Engelbert Humperdinck or Benedict Cumberbatch, but better than fucking “Donald Trump”. Fuck Donald Trump. Of course right after I wrote all this good stuff, Chalmers goes ahead and again does the skipping CD thing and I want to fast forward to Side B. Thanks a lot Chalmers! So I do just that. I fast forward and now it’s cool again. It’s like slowed-down warped chill lounge music. Like what you’d hear in the lobby of a W Hotel, but backwards. I stayed in the W in Boston once, I felt like a mutant around all the sharply dressed people who work there. I also thought it was super weird that locals apparently went to hang out at the W bar. Unless you live in some shit-hole suburb why would you go hang out at a hotel bar? You live in Boston! Why aren’t you hitting up some dive bar in Southie where you can get your ass kicked by some true Bostonians with names like Jimmy, Franky, Mikey and Shaun?!
Side B starts off much like Side A. Sped up and then slowed down, warped loops. Ughhh. I can’t keep going… I bet this guy is a great DJ, but I’m not in the mood for this. Ok… back down again. Cool. The sound of rain… some bells. This is getting better. Some simple chords, repetition, gritty sounds. Nice echo effect. Now you’re talking Mr. Chalmers! I’m falling for you Mr. Chalmers! Oh yes Mr. Chalmers! Oh god… Oh yes…yes, right there. Oh… what was that? Where’d you learn that? Really nice. While listening to the rest of Side B I couldn’t stop thinking about Coil in their more austere loop-based ambient moments. Chalmers successfully creates an eerie haunted house-like ambience, with interesting cuts into the speed of the loops being used. Different sounds flow in and out briefly changing the mood, like one could experience in a fever dream.
Limited to 48 copies.
Order from Beartown.