I got a couple of unfortunately out of print tapes here from Maine's Existential Cloth label.
I'm always excited to hear Frank Baugh's stuff on cassette because a CD-r just can never quite capture the immense warmth of sound he conjures under his Sparkling Wide Pressure moniker. Much like his Stunned tape I reviewed, four pieces are split up pretty evenly amongst two sides of a c30. "Appears and Joins" gets the spools spinning. Swirling keyboards are layered on looped acoustic guitar plucks. The piece maintains an incredibly mellow feel despite a lot of activity. The piece does build to quite a climax however with singing organ and burbling loops of either guitar or keyboard. When all is said and done the track amounts to the most unassumingly forceful piece of music I've heard in a while. All those mellow tones I alluded to earlier? Well, apparently when you stack all of those on top of each other it creates one of the most pleasant squalls around. Props to the loud dub job as well. "Bob Moves" may be my favorite. There's what sounds like a fire alarm ringing distantly and a lovely guitar figure with vocal accompaniment. Synths glisten and swirl their way into the piece turning the whole affair into one big glorious shimmer. It's like a summer day; warm and bright and seemingly endless. Understandably it's garnering a lot of play in the wintry deadlock up here in Seattle. I don't mean to undermine its beauty though; its euphoric eloquence would be just as welcome on a sunny day in June.
"Linda Speaks" starts off the flip side in noisier and disconcerting fashion before sliding into a clean electric chord progression. There's a nice bass melody that could very well be a piano. From there the piece moves slowly but almost haphazardly through a wiry mesh of static, lonesome blues leads and synth sputters unfurling into an astral, deconstructed mess (in a good way.) "Inner Pockets of Love" takes a touch of that blues influence that cropped up in the previous track and marries it with the material on the first side. An elegiac composition of many guitars, many keys and many voices. It's a very good tape, probably the best of Baugh's stuff that I've heard anyway.
I'd never heard of Aghori before but seeing how the project has had a handful of releases on Existential Cloth so I'm guessing it is a local or in-house act. "Cult of the New Sun Moon" establishes Aghori firmly in the drone field. With a bed of short loops with successive additions of more loops. The loops are surprisingly rhythmic creating a detectable polyrhythm in the muddy layers of the tape. Unfortunately, Aghori pull the plug at two minutes cause I would've liked to see where the track could go. The next piece, "Burn Marks of the Victim Pt. 1" fills out the first side. As you may be able to infer from the title the track is brimming with dark, ominous drones. Aghori has a pretty light touch though, there's always just enough going on to keep the listener interested while keeping the various elements in the track well defined and their presence well controlled. The piece moves fluidly as well, constantly shifting while retaining the unsettling atmosphere. "Burn Marks of the Victim Pt. 2" takes over on the second side but its not a continuation of the same piece. It sounds fuller due to a fuzzy feedback drone with disembodied voices and light swells of feedback circling round. It's not as well controlled as "Pt. 1" and doesn't quite create the same eerie atmosphere. The tape wraps with a short piece called "Man With the Ox's Head." It's much more inviting with swirling keyboard and a touch of the new age mystique with a darker, fuzzier undertow that's slowly revealed. Wouldn't have minded a few more minutes of it.
Both tapes are sold-out and it's a damn shame because Bob Moves Linda Speaks was limited to a scant 25 copies and the Aghori tape to only 15. It's like Existential Cloth gets off on being withholding.