Split Series #8
by James Plotkin / Pimmon on Split Series
The eighth installment in FatCat's split 12" series, James Plotkin v Pimmon merges two markedly different sounds and takes on soundscape construction.
A regular contributor / collaborator in cult US label Kranky’s coterie of drone technologists, New Jersey-based James Plotkin is a relative veteran in the field of guitar-based soundscaping. With a diverse back catalogue, Plotkin has released material on labels like Noise Museum, Kranky, Asphodel and Release Entertainment, including collaborations with the likes of Mick Harris, Mark Spybey, and The Young Gods’ Franz Treichler.
Like the recent Andrew Read / Anthony Child split 12” (12FAT031), all the sounds gathered here are sourced from the guitar but, once again, take its function away from traditional playing techniques (picking, strumming) to a far more abstract and processed terrain. Chords and notes are replaced by drones, tones and flickers; the instrument is fully explored as a total sound-source.
What emerges are three focussed tracks of discrete sonic experimentation and edgy, isolationist imaging. ‘Part One’ is all low, rumbling drone and metallic chatter; ‘Part Three’ is based around glassy pulse-accretions and piercing tones. Whilst ‘Part Two’ utilises a rumbling rhythm loop, frantic scratch-noise and low-end undertow.
Slowly shifting and building, Plotkin’s tracks sculpt a dark, yet stunning and involving space – each working its own, distinctive character, yet cohering in a cold, spartan landscape of alien atmospheres.
First heard on a demo received over a year ago, Pimmon is the alias of Paul Gough, a resident of Sydney, Australia. Having collected and processed sounds on an old reel to reel machinbe since the age of eight, Gough has only recently begun to unleash these sounds on the world - finding release through labels like Meme, ERS and Static Caravan. He has remixes for Kid606, Lucky Kitchen, Kim Cascone and Giardini do Miro, plus a collaboration with Oren Ambarchi/Keith Rowe/Fennesz/Pita all due out soon.
Calling this his most 'romantic' release to date, Pimmon has taken snapshots of “love” sounds - kisses, hearts beating, old romance songs off 78 rpm records and acoustic guitar ballads, and force-fed them a diet of PC .DLL files to create new sonic parts to play with. While Pimmon embraces the digital realm(PC /Mac, tape manipulation, filtering through my KorgMS20), stripping apart and rebuilding sounds on the PC, he also likes to record to an old analog multitrack machine adding a layer of warmth and hum.
Buzzes and blips, distorted rumbles, ghosts of melody, radar pulses, glitched ambience all are melted into an unpredictable slab of sound that fluctuates on and off. Minimal and maximised sounds weave without sounding unfocused. The ear slips between layers that ripple and shift like quicksand...