Thursday, October 16, 2008

Married in Berdichev – Married in Berdichev [Gilgongo]

I’m considering this the wrap-up of my string of Kevin Shields-related reviews. Eva Aguila doesn’t appear anywhere on the record but Brittany Gould does, and together they make up the spectacular Caldera Lakes project. According to Gilgongo, this 7inch is the first widely available Married in Berdichev release because the project has only previously appeared on self-released CD-rs and as part of the Deathbomb Arc Tape Club. So fresh off of blowing my mind with that Caldera Lakes full-length, Gould contributes a mighty fine record to announce Married in Berdichev’s presence to the world.
The A-side, “Feet in the Water”, is a side long dreamer based around layered vocals and a looped thumb piano. I really dig the moderately noisy oscillations that pop up, keeping the track on its toes. There are lyrics but I can’t really make them out. Gould does a great job simultaneously building intensity while keeping the track airy. She also keeps a lot of balls in the air at once, so to speak, which is always an impressive feat to me. The wide variety of sounds here are expertly placed and there’s a nice balance between a few main melodic loops that continue through the entire track and the other more sporadic sounds that show up, burn out/fade away only to have new sounds take their place.
The flipside holds “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening”. While “Feet in the Water” had a lullaby quality to it, this side has a touch of dread. Opening with a round, low organ tone and smoky delayed vocals, the hypnotic but uneasy tone is established quickly and succinctly. Though more minimal than the previous side, there are key sounds, particularly of a percussive nature, that immediately heighten the intensity upon their entry. At a few important points the noisier elements launch a coup, overtaking everything in sight (or earshot). The once clean toned vocals begin surfing on a wave of fuzz, manipulated with various knobs and what-have-you to squelch, sputter and surge. The piece ends memorably with a hi-pitched bit of grainy noise that stutters and lurches, nearly rhythmically, seeming to signal a new movement in the track, but, just like that, it hits the end groove. Even after having listened half a dozen times, it was still catching me off-guard.
The artwork was screened by Gould herself on thick deep navy cardstock with matching LP labels and an insert. This is the archetypal “great 7inch find”: new artist, two magnificent but varied sides, classy packaging, cheap price; it has it all. It’s in-print as of now too, but be warned it’s limited to 300.

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