steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


Joe Breitenbach

"Outlander" C20

2:00AM Tapes


Newark DE

February 2010

We've got an all-Delawarean affair on our hands here, with Newark-native noise-maker Joe Breitenbach (Methadrone, Gallows) dispersing this intergalactic 20 minutes through tip-top Wilmington label 2:00AM Tapes. And if you, like me, are a relative newcomer to the sonic exploits of the glorious First State, well, grab your peach blossoms and get your tape player ready, because Outlander is rather righteous.

Side A kicks things off by laying out a dense, machinelike drone atop which sepulchral keyboard chords and airy, swirling samples frolic. As the track ventures on, the drone subsides, and the keyboards occupy more of the track's aural space, played, I believe, both forwards and in reverse. It's an eerie and disarming listen, with various electronic mumbo-jumbo located amid the sound to add variety to the proceedings. For all its sonic variety, it's a tough ten minutes to place one's finger on -- it is indeed atmospheric, but it isn't quite drone music.

Side B is a gunkier fuss, toying with a dusty feedback mess, menacing clinking and clanking, an electric bass, and unusual electronic interference. Here's a track where half the fun is invested in deciphering how Brietenbach got things to sound just how they are; there could be just about anything in this confounded cauldron of sound… a shortwave radio, a sampler, a field recording culled from the Earth's core? Whatever the background, it's a stunning length of sound, and this delightful tape's better half. The only potential indiscretion is the track's liberal use of left/right stereo sound; this produces a curiously dizzying effect when paired with the already disorienting nature of the track, but perhaps a bit more subtlety could have been employed. Either way, it's a minor detail on a compelling work of sound.

joe breitenbach's myspace

Joe collaborating with Mike Haley (Wether/905 Tapes):

Michael Tau

[Vitals: distributed by the label, released 2009]