TTW#11 - Tongues of Mount Meru - The Delight of Assembly
Cassette only - limited edition of 250 copies
A: Part One - 18m48s
B: Part Two - 17m44s
Performed by Jon Wesseltoft and Lasse Marhaug – Oslo, Norway, 2008.
Illustration – SavX.
The second of two new mysterious sonic missives from UK tape label The Tapeworm, this one comes from the strangely monikered Tongues Of Mount Meru, who might be more familiar to people by their given names, noisemaker Lasse Marhaug (of Jazzkamer), and Jon Wesseltoft, a member of black metal legends Thorns. Seems like a strange combination for sure. And the strangeness is further heightened by the fact that you won't find any crunchy noise, Merzbowian blur or blackened blasts here, instead, we're treated to extended mantra-like Niblockian drones, layered and hypnotic, pulsing and ever shifting, fuzzy and buzzy and dense, recorded live, the sound is rich and intense, the edges rough and prickly, within the core drone, drift all sorts of buried melodies, and prismatic overtones, strange little electronic shimmers seems to surface here and there, occasionally, the layers blend perfectly into haunting harmonies, only to slowly drift apart once again. Hard to tell what the sound sources are, but at one point it sounds like an accordion or harmonium, that lush, rich, organic wheeze, all warm and ever-changing.
Two sidelong drones, the first side is more aggressive, more intense and almost abrasive, the second much more swirly and moody, but both similarly dreamy and mesmeric. Total longform hypnodrift drone bliss.
The Wire (UK):
It takes a certain wayward determination to run a cassette-only label in the 21st century, eschewing the ubiquitous ease of CD-Rs in favour of the clunky plastic artefact. Since 2008 [2009 - ed.], The Tapeworm has been justifying that effort with a series of releases that make explicit use of the benefits and limitations of the format, and each of the disparate works that make up this latest batch highlights, in its own way, the enduring peculiarities of magnetic tape.
Tongues Of Mount Meru - a Norwegian duo comprising Noisician Lasse Marhaug and Jon Wesseltoft of Black Metal outfit Thorns - offer the least tape-centric release: two deep drones that fizz and hum in near stasis, with warm overtones slowly unfurling like a magic eye puzzle revealing its hidden design. Both pieces are nearly 20 minutes long and make full use of the binary polarity of the format, Side A wielding a more biting edge than the hypnotic Side B.
Vital Weekly (NL):
Behind Tongues Of Mount Meru we find one Jon Wesseltoft and the well-known Lasse Marhaug. One would perhaps expect some noise release, or cut-up collage like sounds, but these two pieces sound like these two found a bunch of cheap bontempi keyboards. Pressing a few chords down on all of them, they sit behind a mixing board mixing the sounds together. Welcome ye of drone music! Its the kind of drone music I like very much - lover all of organs. Hardcore minimalism at work here, with slow changes in the sound material, but piercing throughout. Not in a noise way, but in a more upfront manner. The new plasticity of drone music. Simply yet effective. Great release.
Anti-Gravity Bunny (USA):
Noise + black metal = hypnodrone... obviously. Jazzkamer's Lasse Marhaug and Jon Wesseltoft (of Thorns) got together and decided they need to chill the fuck out and throw some hardcore minimal drones down on tape. Hence Tongues Of Mount Meru.
The Delight Of Assembly has two sidelong pieces of static synth organ drones. Total existential revelation shit. Your eyes & ears get that foggy glaze and you hear the most beautiful, intricate insect hum. This is super textured stuff made of fuzz & buzz, while still being as soft and ethereal as clouds & dust. Seriously, this is the easiest way to attain enlightenment. Climb Mount Meru, bliss out, and become omniscient.
This is almost as minimal as it gets, at least when it's not being compared to artists like Phil Niblock. The best comparison would be Deceh's self titled LP on Important. Both are made up of similar sounding drones, long form, sidelong pieces, etc. But like all things Tapeworm, liiiiimited. Hurry!