Tapes » Flesh Coffin – Black Lakes

Flesh Coffin – Black Lakes

Flesh Coffin – “Black Lakes” Tape (Imperial Noir, 2015)


Musique Machine:

Flesh Coffin – Black Lakes [Imperial.Noir – 2015]

This tape from the reliable Flesh Coffin, comes simply and starkly presented by the Imperial.Noir label: an all black inlay, with xerox-esque falterings into grey and white, and the barest of album/recording details. The tape has two tracks, one on each side, both just short of the 20-minute mark. The material itself is actually quite old, recorded in the winter of 2010-2011.

The first piece, simply titled I, begins with a strong, noisy synth drone; as it darkly burbles along, junk sounds emerge – scrabbling and clanging, occupying the foreground. These sounds range from small, textural sounds, to larger, more aggressive punctuations and dynamics; Flesh Coffin layers them, and uses them to create a good sense of space in the music. At the opposite end of the sonic spectrum, the track’s second half is marked by vast, reverbed drones. These dirty tones howl like winds across an obliterated landscape. This is perhaps the overall feel of I, for me; it’s tense and dark, but not crushingly so: it’s like the aftermath of something that has already happened.

The second track, II, has a more agitated sound. It’s still overwhelmingly ‘drone-y’ in nature, but there’s more overt movement and rhythm. It begins with the ringing of a tibetan bowl (or something similar), but is soon overcome by a creeping rhythmic synth, accompanied by a similarly lurching bass. It’s almost like a very subdued power electronics track. This firm foundation is decorated with trails of feedback and tiny, textural details which sound like jostling stones. Later on, larger metallic clangs are mixed in with these, whilst the feedback grows into a more dominant feature. Near the very end of II, the sounds of junk (or machinery) are brought into close focus – again, there’s that nice spatial aspect to the tape. If the first track sounded like the aftermath of some mysterious event, II is perhaps the pre-amble towards it. It’s off-screen, or just out of earshot – but it’s coming.

Sometimes, one of the greatest praises is simply wishing there was more of something, and here I do wish there was more of Black Lakes. Though, that may well be because I’ve created this narrative involving a mystery event, happening between I and II. Regardless, I definitely had the ears to hear more pieces from Flesh Coffin, here. The two tracks are well constructed and flowing, and present a range of colours and textures. They are low-key in general tone, but this helps create an effective, stealthy atmosphere. They also convincingly pit acoustic junk sounds against more synthetic drones and noises, but without resorting to overtly noisy or assaultive tactics. I must admit that I’ve liked everything I’ve ever heard from Flesh Coffin, and Black Lakes doesn’t fail me here.

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Martin P)


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