Saturday, May 26, 2018

Frost Cracking Trees

The latest batch of releases from Prime Ruin offered a lot to the listener in the ways of expansive and shapeshifting audio adventures. They're a label I can always trust to have quality output, and support for a wide variety, but still cohesive mixture of experimental artists. One of the newest tapes from the label was the excellent new Kjostad release, entitled "Frost Cracking Trees". Limited to 60 copies on yellow tapes.

A sibling project to Stefan Aunes long going Breaking The Will moniker (both having releases on his label New Forces), Kjostad has been having a rather exciting and active past year. Releasing the split LP with Ligature, called "Overgrown", and with several more cassette releases on the way. Brilliantly recorded natural/organic textures and loops, tape manipulation, and a calculated rise in aggression and tension. A convergence of the natural and the industrial, but with neither side trying to overpower the other. "Frost Cracking Trees" is yet another incredibly detailed and layered offering, but with a much more rapid pace and destructive sound. Bright, fluttery bird calls are quickly met with the tight whip crack sounding loop of some scrap metal. Sharp bursts of finely tuned, crushing low end spastically cut into the mix in a cut-up style. The whole track builds into an enormous amount of sound and industrial rhythms. It's very impressive how Stefan is able to manipulate these field recordings into something so loud, but still keep the integrity of the organic sources. The pacing and movements of the loops also keep everything engaging.

The journey continues on side 2 with more bird sounds and the subtle crunching of feet on a foresty turf. The pulsing, crackly distortion yet again swells up in a timely manner. The wormy and gritty sound of the compressed sound sources really get under my skin sometimes, in a good way. There's lots of scratchy textures on here. It sounds like the actual scraping against tree bark and digging into the earth. Not as rapid paced as the A-side track, but the claustrophobic atmosphere is tremendous.

I adore all of the art on this tape. It's one of my favorite collages on a Prime Ruin release, it encapsulates what the recordings sound like perfectly. As usual the tapes sound pro as fuck.

Not sure how many of these are left, but if this sounds good to you at all I recommend spending your money on it.


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