Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Fathmount - '6-string Renderings' (New American Folk Hero)

I still have a CD player! It's just that, see, I moved, and when I got to my new place my CD collection sat in boxes in the closet for a few months until I finally constructed some sort of shelf for them. And now they sit here again, but are flanked by a bunch of things in front of the shelves, which is the nice bonus that I don't have to look at them (cause who wants to look at CD spines in 2015, amirite?) but also means I often forget I have them, and thus this Elbow Cinderblock Glass Mastered Constructor Bags universe I've been chipping away at over the years gets neglected. Picking up where we left off, we being me of course, I/us find this jewelcased CDr by Fathmount, who is apparently someone named Wilson Lee. I found this out with Google, see, which has little else to say about Fathmount. But the title give you a hint of what's inside; it's electroacoustic improvisation, built around hammered string, and recorded in a close-mic'd manner for some high spritzy parts and in an ambient room vibe for the deep lows and low-mids. The five tracks all have names like 'Rendering acoustics' and 'Rendering Feedbacks', and the tendency is towards the building of a personal soundworld rather than any flashy showoff guitar techniques or clever editing. 'Rendering Acoustics' has very irritating interruptions in the vibe, some cheap DOD-fuzz, and a plodding monotony that, despite the language I used in this very sentence, is pretty great. 'Rendering Feedbacks' is a dense wall of electroacoustic buzz, with some screaming electronics (or, I guess, feedbacks) gesturing towards an overcast night sky. It's a bit of Birchville Cat Hostel. 'Rendering Pitches' has a staticky assonance around its various tones, and then 'Rendering Layers' comes crashing in like a teenage fuzz guitar symphony - it's a series of power chords played with 4-track line-in majesty, and it could be a demo from the grunge years, eventually attaining a buildup of overtones and making it resemble a minimalist composition. The closer, 'Render harmonics', is pretty much what it says; it's not completely clear what the difference is between 'rendering' music and simply 'playing' it, but the overintellectualisation of Fathmount really ends there. The harmonics are nice and irregularly spaced, making this feel akin to a pastoral, environmental experience as opposed to some rigid, mathematical exercise. Most of the pieces on this disc outstay their welcome, and there was such a glut of string-based electroacoustic drone people from this time people that it's hard to make this really stand out. But it's relatively controlled, and makes nice work with the amateurish home-recording tools that were so commonplace.