TTW#27 - Deceh - Fundamental Structure
Cassette only - limited edition of 400 copies
SOLD OUT AT SOURCE
1: Origin Vibratory
2: Rural Harmonics
3: That Which Is Heard
4: Emerging Presence
Program repeats on both sides.
A close study of the harmonic composition of a Hammond organ and a Sruti Box with attention given to the organization of isolated frequencies and the effects of these vibrations on brain activity.
“Once four, three no more, now we're up to two. Dear old friend, must this end, before we start anew?”
Over the last couple of years, The Tapeworm has become the most recognizable bastion for tape culture and it is understandably so when looking at the label’s back catalog. The mix of styles, genre and artistic intents across all the releases make for an Aladdin’s cave of treasured recordings. Their latest releases bolster their reputation as purveyors of fine music on cassette with fantastic releases by Deceh, Philip Marshall, Francisco López and Zan Hoffman. Fundamental Structure by Deceh sees the group exploring more intense frequencies than those on their other release reviewed above. Again this is deeply meditative music but where 4 relaxed me, Fundamental Structure acts more as a stimulant. This is not surprising judging by the liner notes which state that the group have given close “attention… to the organization of isolated frequencies and the effects of these vibrations on brain activity.” Clashing tones create beautiful interferences and by moving my head around I can alter the sounds further. This gives way to a pleasant sea of Hammond organ and sruti box, leaving me adrift and at peace.
Deceh is an anonymous duo featuring the elusive Eleh. Their edition for The Tapeworm is “a close study of the harmonic composition of a Hammond organ and a Sruti Box with attention given to the organization of isolated frequencies and the effects of these vibrations on brain activity.” Like all of Eleh's work, “Fundamental Structure” is meditative, and, if you like, spiritual, seeming to slow time itself to a malleable blur and opening sublime temporal portals in the process. And while it might be minimal, the purity of the tones and their ultra-subtle oscillations are still deeply engaged with a vividly synaesthetic quality; these are frequencies you inhale with your ears and can almost see vibrating against your skin. It's a beautiful thing and sounds quite lovely on cassette. The program repeats on both sides. Limited edition of 400 copies - Recommended.
Aquarius Records (US):
Another batch of new tapes from the UK cassette label The Tapeworm, and even less to go on background wise with many of them this time around. Deceh is apparently a duo, which counts drone combo duo among their membership (of two), which is strange since we were fairly sure that there were at least two members of Eleh. Regardless, this is some hushed, gorgeous ULTRA ULTRA minimal dronemusic. Long form dronescapes woven from Hammond organ and sruti box, or more specifically, according to the liner notes, “A close study of the harmonic composition of a Hammond organ and a sruti box with attention given to the organization of isolated frequencies and the effects of these vibrations on brain activity.” Which leads us to believe, based on the near static pulsations, and at times barely audible undulations, that the brain activity in question is some sort of deep deep trance. Soft overtones, barely there slow shifting sonic colorations, at times so simple and austere it almost sounds like it's just the buzz of the tape mechanism itself, but at other times, the compositions blossom into something much more lush, and dreamily melodic. Most often hovering somewhere right in between, layered and lush, a tranquil sea of hum and thrum, underpinned by microscopic pulsations, a barely there propulsion, these lengthy inner space explorations shifting ever so gently from krautdrone new age ambient drift to pure tone sine wave shimmer. Lovely.
This is the second time I’ve listened to Fundamental Structure. It starts out like a droney, minimalist, noise record should: repetitive pattern, oscillations, overtones, undertones, simplicity…then it resonates. For me the true grasp of the track is revealed in not what you hear. The sound you hear isn’t what Deceh’s trying to convey; it’s the sound you feel, rather. Every Eleh and Deceh release I own could be listened to with earplugs in at a very loud volume just to feel the sound wash over you. Don’t get me wrong, these tones sound lovely to my ears, but the feeling is more pronounced whenever I put on an Eleh or Deceh record/cassette.
Even at its quietest, this cassette still resonates (assuming your system allows). MINUTES pass by without so much as a change in tone, then all of a sudden, the tones change up, up, up! My other roommate personally requested that I turn this tape off the other night when I listened to it because it was becoming too loud for him. I just softened it a little, and he didn’t seem to mind anymore.
Upon a second listen, I find this to be a very comfortable track. More flowing and soft than the last Deceh I received on cassette through Cassauna. It still has a bite near the end of the track, but up to that point everything seems very tidy. The bite I speak of sounds like a detuned bass guitar being beaten under 6 feet of water. It’s interesting, but kind of seems like it belongs somewhere else. A sort of sadness is realized when you flip the cassette over and press play, because there’s no more. It’s the same piece on both sides. It’s perfectly fine and stands tall as a release, though. Deceh keeps me interested.
Any of The Tapeworm’s releases are definitely worth seeking out if you can grab them. Most are limited to around 250, so actually purchasing them right when they are released is important. Luckily for me, I’ve subscribed to the next 10 releases, so I don’t have to worry about them running out. Unfortunately for my collection, I only learned about The Tapeworm after about 12 releases, so my collection has many gaps. Oh well!
Vital Weekly (NL):
There are no bandmembers listed on the cover of the release by Deceh, but (internet-) belief has it that at least two members of Eleh are involved - Eleh being an influential drone company of a more mysterious kind (and seldom reviewed in these pages). Their tape is made with a Hammond organ and a sruti box, that drone instrument from India. Both sides have the same five pieces, which according to the cover are played “with attention given to the organization of isolated frequencies and the effects of these vibrations on brain activity”. In the first piece one wouldn't say these are sounds from a Hammond organ nor struti box, but a physically loud piece of closely linked drones - trademark of Eleh. But as the tape progresses things tone down a bit more and then drones arrive which are more mellow and meditative. I am not sure if and which part of this particular brain was effected, but it surely sounded great - but me being a sucker for drone music anyway. Excellent tape.