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Record Review Reprint
I find it a little regrettable that this historical release of tape released early 1980s analogue experiments is far, far better than Hammill's official contemporaneous material. This is a magnificent release detailing some of Hammill's best material. Remastered from horribly degraded tape, it ranges from tape experiments to contemporary ballet music. "A Ritual Mask" begins with the strange sounds of a Kora: an ethnic plucked instrument of sinister tone. The song suddenly bursts into a hair-raisingly produced rhythm on ethnic percussion. Very powerful and nothing quite like Hammill has done before. Previously appeared on a WOMAD compilation. Later tracks concentrate on tape loops, the cream of which is The Moebius Loop: spliced loops and a haunting vocal overlay. Excellent. In Slow Time is a more experimental version of the track from A Black Box and quite the superior of the versions. My Pulse is a remarkably strong set of ballet music dominated by sandwiching piano line. Quite bleak but decorated with tapes enough to add flesh. A forgotten moment of note in Hammill's prolific output. Ending with more tape foolery in the guise of The Bells! The Bells!, I would recommend this wholeheartedly to everyone.
© 1996 Phil Kime
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