Slant Azymuth - Slant Azymuth

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  • "Every videotape systems attempts to pack as much video as possible onto a given-sized tape," reads a Wikipedia article on the obscure (to us future-dwellers) inner workings of helical scan recording. Slant azimuth recording, from which Slant Azymuth—the agglomeration of Demdike Stare and Andy Votel—takes its name, maximizes the amount of video you can cram onto a VHS. But azimuth, the degree measurement indicating how parallel the magnetic head is to the tape it's reading from or writing to, is an important factor in any tape medium. In the context of recorded music, and especially Slant Azymuth's debut full-length, azimuth implies a tape machine, which brings to mind musique concrète, which gets at the heart of the group's project: it recalls electronic music's radiophonic beginnings, had electronic music waited until the early '80s to take shape and done so in the mildewed suburban basement of a house neighborhood kids probably made a point of staying clear of. Slant Azymuth, as its title suggests, positively bursts with ideas, and while not quite as distinctively synthesized as Demdike Stare's own material, it can make for a similarly gripping listen. The album is at its best when it's at its most elemental—when, like its creative forebears, it looks to all sound for musical material. The three "Intervision" tracks are classic sound collages of creaks, rumbles and squeaks, as if the moment before the big scare in every horror film on your shelf merged into a single, stressful mess. "Black Crolyn" is a similar greatest-hits assemblage, this time of incidental music whose ambience coalesces into a uniform gurgle. Vaguely stepping and dubbed out, "U-Matic Thrill" could be the ghost of Elemental, Demdike Stare's recently completed EP cycle, bouncing around an empty room long after its last play. In light of that massive four-12-inch undertaking, Slant Azymuth feels deeply intimate but maybe less than utterly essential; and another recent manifestation of VHS worship, Oneohtrix Point Never's Replica, brought into the world a more complete re-envisioning of musique concrète for contemporary audiences. Regardless, Slant Azymuth is a pleasure—the sort of terror that takes a few listens to properly activate that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach.
  • Tracklist
      A1 Gray Equidae A2 Intervision 1 A3 Black Crolyn A4 Intervision 2 B1 Helicial Scan B2 Intervision 3 B3 U-Matic Thrill