Monday, August 19, 2013

Afterlife - Sensory Overdose (Sicsic059)

if the sweet leaf could grow in space, then Afterlife would be the appropriate music to ensure the plant's vitality.  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

In more than one way, Sensory Overdose, on Sicsic, is a celebration of experimental music.  Even before talking about the copious merits of this tape, the artwork of Stunned head honcho, Phil French, is somewhat of a portent.  Some of the first Afterlife tapes - the split with Ossining is wonderful - were splits released on Stunned.  In past reviews, I have described the salience of Stunned Records - it made a mark on experimental music like few others.  Therefore, just viewing Phil's beautiful artwork gives one an indication of the heavy vibes on offer.  Additionally, Afterlife is comprised of two skilled artists.  Along with performing in Afterlife, Franklin Teagle operates Tranquility Tapes, and it's sibling, Anathema Sound.  Ryan McGill has several other music projects, most notably the awesome Cliffsides - his contribution to the Space Slave 4-way split is a highlight of the batch.  With the pertinent details disclosed, let the trip commence!  And, it sure is a heady one.  The title is apt.  Over two sides of tape, Ryan and Franklin lay down a wonderful variety of astral sounds.  However, this is more than a collection of spacey sounds.  One of the most attractive facets of the tape is the structure of both side-long tracks.  A careful listen will illuminate the subtle shifts in tone and mood. In some sections, the tranquility of new age music fuses with the cosmos.  At other times, a vortex of spacey electronics inundate the listener.  Side B starts with some of the most interesting sounds heard the entire year.  And, the latter part of side B presents a maelstrom of metallic-coated sound that leaves the listener dazed under a glowing pile of cosmic detritus.    

   Upon pressing play and leaving this physical body, patterns of synth loop ethereally.  Before long, the serenity is augmented, as a nascent sustained tone shifts subtly.  The form changing with time.  As the tone shifts, the loop begins to ripple, and electronic signals - displaying a wonderful breadth of textures - start to morph.  More than halfway through, an appreciable change occurs.  Soon, the listener ascends to the next stratum, delivered by resonant sound that grows in vigor until it disintegrates in a deluge of astral sounds.
The flip is just as enticing.  As I mentioned in the preceding paragraph, Afterlife begins side B in style.  An intoxicating mix of sonic percolations and spacey effects move through the head like my favorite bud.  This part has an aquatic sound, yet it circulates among constellations and cosmic bodies.  Heretofore, the mood has a tranquil quality, which is underlined by airy pulsations of synth.  A transition occurs, in which the synth throbs.  Next, the listener is among sound that bubbles, frays and disintegrates.  At the intersection, the track morphs into an aggressive mix of trembling signals, static emanations, noise and metallic sound that grinds and oscillates.  Once the synth disappears, the listener is enveloped by a whirlpool of vibrations.  After the deluge, cosmic stillness, in the form of a quivering tone, extends beyond perception.

Homedubbed on chrome tape in an edition of 85 cassettes and sold out at the source, Sensory Overdose is fantastic in every aspect.  With dwindling supplies, the platform for lift-off is situated at the headquarters of Tomentosa.

peace and love, friends :)