Sheepscar Light Industrial :: Multi-review

Keeping good on its promise to release three new records every thirty days or so, Sheepscar Light Industrial offers up bite-size but chewy taste teasers of the “electronic, experimental, improvised, psychedelic, drone and noise” music by artists living in, around or caught loitering in Leeds.

Keeping good on its promise to release three new records every thirty days or so, Sheepscar Light Industrial offers up bite-size but chewy taste teasers of the “electronic, experimental, improvised, psychedelic, drone and noise” music by artists living in, around or caught loitering in Leeds. Each three-inch CDR comes in a generically-labelled, plastic pocket, yours for the price of a stamp or on Bandcamp. Here are some highlights from its latest two emissions.

On A Staircase Missing, the power lines begin to howl and their domed porcelain insulators quiver while a cholera bell rings. Keeping his high-pitched drone poised in perfect balance with his low hum, “Aqua Dentata” treads a high-wire stretched between calming ambient and agitating industrial noise in a most literal sense. Nearly midway across, the tones blend together smoothly into a sweet, bagpipe-like skirl.

Petals’ Whether to Drown has a much rougher surface under which lies the constant threat of undertow. The artist says his record will appeal to “fans of ecstatic synths and grumpy violins, creepy electronics and the future ghost of Rick Wakeman,” and the first, fifteen-minute track might well do that, as it struggles to keep afloat and not be sucked into the vortex. As “Calm (Before a Storm)” fades out, it is uncertain whether it succeeded. The second track, “Viaduct for Two” is a clever manipulation of urban field recording. It has a certain concrete, asphalt and steel-belted radial magnificence about it. “Tuning the world,” Canadian theorist R. Murray Schafer called it.

“Core of a Coalman” is a visitor, Jorge Boehringer, an American currently residing in Prague, a veteran explorer of novel sounds who studied composition at Mills College in San Francisco with the likes of Fred Frith, Pauline Oliveros, and Alvin Curran. Wielding a treated viola on 12 Lines, his education and experience show in the complexities of tone and colour he insinuates into the sweet, extended drone he urges out of his strings, gliding smoothly downriver, providing its own lavish scenery along the way. “Core of a Coalman” too concludes his piece with a flourish reminiscent of the Scottish bagpipes.

Pyrite is the physical recording debut of Ap Martlet (Dave Thomas) and its grand analogue depth dips and delves slowly and more palpably that the rest of this quartet. In a way, it is 12 Lines turned upside-down, rumbling unsteadily where the former glides sweetly, while crackling with some of the energy that got away from A Staircase Missing. Though named after fool’s gold, it’s a little record worth cherishing.

A Staircase Missing, Whether to Drown, 12 Lines and Pyrite are available on Bandcamp.

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