Jason Kahn: percussion, sampling
Toshimaru Nakamura: no-input mixing board, sampling
Two releases which share a lot of common ground while producing some really rather distinctive results. Although Carrasco seems to be coming from the ambient-industrial-techno end of things, whereas Toshimaru and Kahn are free improvisors, both end up making grungy, murky electronica which uses repetition without being bound to it.
The Deplete Coitus release is a twenty-minute EP with a basically synth-driven texture. The pieces evolve loops, or at least seem to; in fact, each repetitive unit tends to mutate in odd ways, or to rotate a few times only to be swamped by an analogue fog. The first track is especially tricksy in this respect, constantly diappointing your expectations by exceeding them with every imaginative twist. It’s reminiscent of some of the more ambient Techno Animal tracks, something you can tap your foot to but which is constantly catching you out.
Carrasco’s world is heavily populated by squelches, clanks and bands of static, but there’s room for humour, too. A very amusing — and rather poignant — faux cameo from Stephen Hawking appears on “Andantino Ioi“, only to be followed by a witty re-working of something which sounds like a soundtrack to an early-’80s computer game. This reference — plus the disturbingly pornographic Japanese anime visuals — links Deplete Coitus to the electronica tradition from which it seems so distant. Well worth picking up in the absence of a full-length release, which would surely be a success, as these twenty minutes seem to disappear very quickly.
Repeat, as their name suggests, have a much more mechanical feel — oddly, because of course they have an acoustic component which Carrasco avoids. Their sound is repetitive in that motorik manner which sounds, initially, like objects bumping along on a conveyor belt until one’s ear becomes accusomed to it (one thing which helps is playing it very loud).
Kahn samples his metals and drums on quite short loops, allowing them to build into big, rhythmic textures, while Toshimaru works with bleeps, sine waves and what sound like electical, rather than electronic, phenomena. Often their approach is to build things on top of one another so that previous ideas tend to just get quieter in the mix rather than being transformed.
The sensation is rather like walking through a factory, the sounds of some machines fading as you walk away from them and towards others (that tended to be Techno Animal’s approach, too, for those who love to make connections). As a result, these pieces can be hypnotic and static, and the fact that their sounds tend not to be terribly abrasive reinforces this effect. Kahn’s metal objects, for example, often sound as if they’re being coaxed with a soft beater rather than torn in half, as such things sometimes do. The standout track is number 5 (they’re untitled), a rather minimal piece relying on a simple, repeated figure in a storm of electrical glitching.
Two very different CDs, then, with some odd similarities. Deplete Coitus works in a very linear fashion; what Temporary Contemporary generally let you hear is the construction of the end result, a great multi-layered monster of a sound slowly built up section by section. The latter technique is rather crude and over-used, but it’s effective here just because of the lapidary quality of the music. Electronics are always going to have to confront the issue of repetition, which is so deeply entrenched in the tradition of electronic music; these are two discs which find interesting but very different solutions to the problem. Richard Cochrane