Cassette Reviews

Allon Kaye – Tiny Fascinator

August 11, 2012

Senufo Editions

Pretty tired tonight after a long day at work, with a twelve hour shift to come tomorrow still. So maybe a brief review tonight of a shortish C20 cassette that came out a little while back now on the Senufo Editions label. I get a lot of music sent to me by Allon Kaye, who runs the Entr’acte label, and its always an honour and a pleasure, but he hasn’t ever sent me any of his own music, so it was a surprise and a treat to receive Tiny Fascinator, a very nicely designed little tape credited to Kaye sent to me from Giuseppe Ielasi’s label.

Perhaps like Allon himself, this release is a hard to pin down, somewhat elusive little tape. Its hard to say what is involved to make the two little pieces of music here, but certainly nothing traditionally recogniseable as a music instrument. The two tracks contain vaguely looping little sections of abstract sound, the source of much of which is anyone’s guess, though I think contact mics or something similar are put to use, and on the first side at least tape of some kind as there are long sections of what sounds either like someone blowing on a microphone or tape being pulled manually through tape heads. Elsewhere there are rhythmic sounds that could be snoring, but I think aren’t, chirruping birds and other distant bits of wildlife and little fragments of who knows what revolving, possibly physically through tape loops throughout the two tracks.

Trying to figure out what the sounds actually are, or might have started out as, is a pointless task however. The various fragments pull together to make music that is light and spacious and yet driven by some kind of primitive, lo-fidelity rhythm. There is never too much happening, just a few simple, mostly short sounds at any one time, clicking and turning over each other like some kind of basic children’s clockwork toy loaded with all the wrong sounds. The two pieces here, each unnamed and recorded on either side of a simple white cassette tape have a childlike feel to them, which I don’t mean in a detrimental way, rather that they have a fun simplicity to them, which coupled with the odd, oblique, structure of unusual sounds combines to make two curious little works that last just long enough at around ten minutes each to have you scratching your head, but then leave you pondering what on earth its all about soon after. There’s also a very nicely designed rhino on the cover. Why, I don’t know, but somehow it works there, and serves as a very suitable parallel to the music itself. This was released in an addition of a hundred copies a little while ago now, so may no longer be available, but if it isn’t available from the label here, then its certainly available as a lossless download relatively cheaply from here.

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