Monday, August 5, 2019

Cassette Review //
Data Slum
"American Trance"
(Illuminated Paths)

$7 //
Edition of 25 // //

"American Trance" builds with ohms, jumbled words and what feels like Jason Voorhees coming out of the bushes to kill us all.  It doesn't quite get more American than that, now does it?   If you think about what these sounds could represent- the ohms are like religion, the jumbled words are how everyone talks too much and the Voorhees factor is simply that nation of fear belief.    It builds up a bit like "JAWS" and then what sound like different words come from the background.    There is a lot going on here but it does feel like the making of a horror movie.

Drum beats now bring about the sax squeals behind it and there's this instrumental hip hop vibe that artists used in the 1990's which is then sped up out of control.   This has gone from Wreckx-N-Effect to Dillinger Escape Plan quickly.   This ominous tone lurks in the background now, as things slow back down, and we're in a movie or video game, something like Resident Evil perhaps.    Dings come through like ping pong balls.    The frequencies turn and change and this has become hectic once again.    I think of it as being an industrial pinball machine.

An audio clip about someone complaining about cops and saying that people are on "Government Checks" (which is the name of the song) comes on next and a bunch of percussion and other distortion comes reigning down on it.   It's almost thrash, but it's just so loud and fast I'm not sure what to make of it other than to say that I like it.

DIstorted guitar tones come through, reverberate, singing behind them and it feels like that whoosh of fireworks being set off as well.    A siren comes in behind this all now, that back and forth beeping.    A loud banging joins all of this, almost like banging on the pots and pans, and as this is the titular track I feel it is important to not only think about each of these sounds individually and how they relate to America, but to hear that voice still singing underneath it all, as if to represent the very soul of this country.    Through an audio clip we fade out with a FNL type of sound.

A jangly guitar sound kicks off the flip side with people talking behind it.   There is almost a blues feel to this.   A steady beat comes in now to get us moving.   A sound is also found in here which makes me feel like it is the clacking of the keys on a typewriter.   A more magical riff of keys comes in as well.    Organs can make this sound like pinball glitch and while songs traditionally have verse/chorus/verse I feel like this one by Data Slum just kind of starts on the ground and takes off into the air.   It's more of a rise.

We steady the beat now.   A glow and that bouncing of the ball.   Some beats carry more bass now, a knocking at the door, and then those sort of horror movie tones come in as well-- the suspense.    A modem comes through briefly and then the song sort of fades out like the way a bouncing ball simply becomes still.

Water is dripping now with someone talking to Suzanne and then seems to stop as abruptly as it started.

A ringing now brings out tones and in some ways this cassette has made me think of that Porno For Pyros song about making great pets.    This is choppy, a bit wavy, but the feeling behind it all is also tranquil.   Distortion rings through now as well.    A bit of a Hendrix feel on top of everything else now.    The build has a bit of magic in it as well, almost like we're going to go into something by The Who, which was not a place I thought I might end up when I first pressed play on this cassette.

This final song just really begins to sing along.   The guitar notes echo as if they are words and you want to connect with them as if they are the hook.    Eventually it shifts to this engine drop down and then almost drones with one tone while the other rattles and hums.   In the end, it just drifts away but this cassette has really made some reflections on this country and if you listen closely enough you might just hear them for yourself.

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