TTW#49 – Dale Cornish – Fleshpile Thematic
Cassette only – limited edition of 200 copies
Buy in the TouchShop
A1: Of An Evening
A3: The Unctuous
A4: A Lucky Escape
A5: The List
B2: The Control
B5: To Be Blunt
Composed and performed by Dale Cornish.
Illustration – Christophe Chemin.
Born, raised and current of London (south). No Bra (2004–6): co-wrote unexpected hit ‘Munchausen’. Terse humour and observations/worldly interests further evident with work of ecstatic noise trio Baraclough (2006–). Debut album ‘Hello Animal’ (2009) followed by subsequent cassette-only releases, including ‘The Lampshade Is Not A Past Tense’ for the Tapeworm (2009). Current focus is on solo and collaborative works and performances. Previous solo releases include ‘Glacial’ (Entr’acte, 2012) and ‘Voluntary Redundancy Salad’ (Beartown Records, 2011).
‘Fleshpile Thematic’ exposes the beguiling and intimate sonic practice of Dale Cornish, formerly of “topless pop” duo, No Bra. Blending the techniques and textures of musique concrète with humorously detached poetic observations and electronics, it makes for compelling, focussed listening for anyone intrigued enough to attempt to decipher his wry and often bleak lyrics or those who’ll appreciate his gently groping feel for grainy texture and tone. It should probably come as little surprise that Dale was partly responsible for compiling the brilliant ‘&c.’ album by Leslie Winer, with whom he shares a similarly soporific style of articulation and minimalism, albeit perhaps from a more contemporary and even more stripped down, obtuse perspective. Very intriguing stuff, we're sure you'll be returning to this one later down the line.
Aquarius Records (US):
We first heard Dale Cornish in the context of a different tape on The Tapeworm label, that one from his mysterious ensemble Baraclough, which sounded like some warped and stumbling mix of No Neck style free form clatter and drift, and droned out modern minimalism. Much of that sound surfaces here as well, the main difference being that Fleshpile Thematic seems to be a showcase for Cornish's spoken word, which gives this whole tape a definite Shadow Ring vibe, Cornish's voice an accented deadpan, that only occasionally slips into something resembling a croon (at which times he sounds a bit like a wasted - or more wasted - Scott Walker), but more often than not, delivers his strange prose is a quite reserved manner, occasionally stretching out the syllables, and once in a while slipping into something that sounds almost cockney, but the background music is what makes this so good. Shifting constantly, from shimmery static, distant voices, chiming tones that sound like struck glasses or tiny bells, soft focus clouds of hazy static drift over smoldering chordal swells, lots of deeeeeep drones, woozy, turntable manipulations unleash truncated samples slowly shifting into warbled melodies, the rumble and swirl of music speeding up and slowing down, the white noise of television static, sculpted into strange shadowy, granular shapes, eventually splintering into a weird collage that sounds like Jeck, if most of his turntables were spinning Merzbow records, or were simply TVs turned on to some dead channel at 3am, noisy, but the hiss and wow of the static is muted and blurred into something downright soothing, the whole end of the A side is like a blissed out soft noise record.
The flipside begins with looped metallic shimmer over field recordings of rainfall, and more reverberant tones, the spoken word, now a sort of croon, over haunting swirls of sound, dark and looped and hypnotically droney. The sound shifts eventually into a sort of clanging metal junkyard cabaret, the spoken word dramatic and croony, deep and sonorous and a little over the top, laid over what sounds like someone playing the inside of a piano with a hammer, before dissolving into deep rumbling tones, that blur into a washed out thrum in the background, finally disappearing into a field of electronic hum, droned out and crackling.
Super cool. But definitely depends on your love/tolerance of spoken word, definitely seems like Shadow Ring fans might dig a lot!