If you need a quick accurate description of Meelazlan (1979) (EP) by Chris Caukwell his Bandcamp page will suffice. He describes it as a “collection of experiments, soundtrack to the greatest sci-fi film never made, indulging my love of long intros, short plateaus, impossible midi concoctions and found sound,” which pretty much nails it. Caukwell manipulates found sounds (pots, knife sharpeners, etc.), plays traditional instruments (guitars), programs virtual instruments and extrapolates samples (Mystery Science Theatre 3000, Ingmar Bergman's Private Confessions, The Limey) into sound collages.
He cites Grimes, Tim Hecker, Big Black and Tame Impala as artists that inspired him to go at it but out of the four Tim Hecker is the only one that really comes close to being noticeable. In fact Caulkwell’s ethereal, fantasy world sounds are more reminiscent to an artist like Oneohtrix Point Never more than anything.
First up is “jīnchán tuōqiào,” which is a little over a minute long.” Synths increase in pitch and get to a vertigo inducing breaking point that leaves you twisted and broken. It falls apart with creativity.
“Shaihalud” lives in a world of robots that are working at a frantic pace. The vocal sample was cramped in with too many elements and I couldn’t make out the words. Nonetheless, the song leads to a molten volcano where robot slaves endlessly forge metal,
Arpeggiated synths are layered with sporadic percussive elements on “p=m/v” while “David, Son of Abraham” revolves around a vocal sample that led me into a spiraling depression. “186” contains more arpeggiated synths. This time they are phat with a capital “P”. It sounded a bit like Tubular Bells if the frontal cortex was ripped out of your brain. I hear warm, comforting bouncing pads on “...on The Forest floor,,,” but they are competing with a slightly distorted bass, army-like snare drums and wind instruments. The song builds and my ears could barely take it. Its intensity ends suddenly.
Foley artist, sound designer and avant-garde composer are three titles Caukwell might be able to get away if he continues to improve. Not bad and has potential.
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