Sunday, 13 May 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #178 - Karen Gwyer, "I've Been You Twice EP"

This was posted to me by @Yaaard of Yaaard industries yesterday with words about Boards of Canada and XX chromosomal patterns. I do not know of Karen, but I like what I now hear of her. I'm thinking more like early Aphex Twin, with big chunky, seaboard synth noises chiming and buzzing majestically about. It all sounds homemade, but the kind of home with a Hellraiser like dimension out the kitchen door full of amazing slow-moving electronic sounds.

Maybe the Aphex connection comes from her name sounding so Cornish, but she's actually from Michigan and lives in That There Fancy London. The album even comes up on my iTunes next to "I Care Because You Do". Inavoidable and unescapable.

"Shermer Shake" mixes the paradoxically sublime and pedestrian synth sounds with some distant vocal hush. "No Moondoggies for 3 Weeks" (Moondoggies?) is a little more crowded and percussed than the other tunes, but still managed some drifting wordless singalong from an airy loft of the imagination. There's a Bladerunner tranquility to "Infernal Selection Enceinte Version" that borders on the Clannad, far from any infernal imagery altogether. It seems that she is interested in the same space between and/or around folk music and electronics as Clannad were, if the attached video is anything to go by, covering the Folk Anthology. "Velvet Gambit" closes with almost absent-minded humming over a churchy chord progression that dangles in that part of the brain from where The Orb rules the Ultraworld with pulsating bass.

The EP is also on a C30 tape, which maintains a link with ferric oxide that I've always been a little sad to miss. Yaaard too is a fan of the cassette, releasing some of his own sweet sounds on similar plastic contraptions. I think it's the handmade aspect of tapes that CD mixtapes never quite managed and infinitely shuffled MP3s never will. The mechanical shove of the Play/Rec buttons together imprinting your enthusiasms on the tape and marking an enthusiasm with a physical act of conviction that downloading cannot match. Artisan kung-fu creativity. Hell, yeah!

I'll definitely be keeping a rheumy eye open for future stuff. For a remake of Robin of Sherwood, or a folk hero of my own devising that robs from the time-rich to delegate to the future, dressed top to toe in Soylent green.

Rating: Cornwall/Ultraworld out of Michigan

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