Well-crafted noise music from the Midwest released by a fledgling tape label based out of the Pacific Northwest. That’s what I love about the online cassette community: the magic of unlikely connections, the miracle of epic alliances formed via email and bandwidth.
I ordered the first batch of releases (officially referred to as the Cyan Set) in its entirety from Impermanent Projects — a fledgling label established in 2017 in Portland, Oregon by co-founders Dustin Krcatovich and Micah Vanderhoof. All of the tapes in the set lean towards the musique-concrete/noise/sound-collage camp (while also sharing a neat, eye-catching monochromatic design courtesy of Krcatovich). And, though I’ll be focusing on one release in particular (a split by Edwin Perry Manchester and Hopechest out of Fargo, North Dakota) for a variety of reasons (which I will elaborate on as I go), I wholeheartedly recommend dropping out for a couple of uninterrupted hours and experiencing all four albums back-to-back.
“The Evil Spirit That Devours Mankind” by Edwin Perry Manchester occupies Side A — an ominous, expansive, lo-fi drone piece that’s much more fluid and jarring than what most noise enthusiasts would expect. It is industrial in the literal sense of the word. Gears clink and turn. Steam spews. Percussive hits resound in such a way that reminds me of those moments in a horror/thriller film when the main character realizes that they’ve grossly underestimated the seriousness of their predicament.
“Kismet/Saturn Return” by Hopechest occupies Side B – which I perceive as an aftermath to Side A. The damage has been done by the aforementioned evil spirit and the dust is settling. About five minutes into the track, a persistent, shimmering noise subsides and is replaced by warm, heavenly tones that float in the air like snowflakes or ash. There comes a calm that is both unexpected and necessary — a relieving feeling that adds to the immensity and dynamic nature of the emotional journey depicted in this split.
Being that I reside around this area, I feel connected to this music in a way that transcends the normal attachment a person feels towards an outstanding album; it speaks through the landscape I call home; I can feel the North winds in the sound waves as they disperse and expand across the icy Midwestern planes that stretch on into a hazy gray eternity.
All of that being said, I commend and extend my gratitude to both the artists and Impermanent Projects for making me feel proud to be a fellow noise-consuming/noise-producing denizen of the Midwest. Sometimes, such a reminder is desperately necessary. Anyone tethered to this region knows what I mean.