Thursday, April 5, 2012

David Carter / The Witch Family split (Haute Magie, 2012)

David Carter / The Witch Family split
Haute Magie 2012

David Carter unfortunately passed away last year and I can’t figure out where he was from. The flip side of this tape features remixes by Ryan Harris as The Witch Family.

Carter’s side begins with pulsating, distorted, percussive noise in quite a minimalist way. It sounds like a field recording of a factory at work, or a machine. The second song is more ambient, composed of wavering, lo-fi textures. They have an old and spooky quality. More layers enter with overlapping oscillations of different lengths. There is one droning sound that has a more breathy, airy texture to it, which I really enjoy. Song three oddly consists of in your face danc-y drum machine beats, which are stylistically very different from the previous two songs. But they drone on, the samples not really changing, and the song feels like it almost becomes a study in drum machine textures. Song four also incorporates layers of drum machines, but this time the rhythms are more complicated and experimental. Joining the drum machines are gloomy synth drones fading in and out. Song five features an interesting mixture of down tempo, melancholic piano chords, drum machine, and blippy, arpeggiating synths. A repeating, percussive melody enters which sounds pretty cool, like synthesized bells. More spooky, lo-fi, ambient atmospheres can be heard on song six, this time joined by a mid-tempo, 4/4 bass beat and crackling, noise static. The blippy synths return as well. A repetitive synth melody enters atop another drum machine beat. With all these mysterious layers being added the song becomes quite hypnotic. Song seven features a sort of retro industrial synth melody, which I really dig. A super heavy and bass-y drum machine beat enters, completely transforming the minimalist vibe at the beginning of the song.

The Witch Family’s first remix is stylistically completely different, as layers of synths envelope up and down sounding really echo-y. The second song features a light, quiet drum machine rhythm mixed with droning synths and haunting, oscillating, ambient textures which sound similar to Carter’s original track. One of the drones gets gradually louder, more dissonant and unsettling as the other sounds fade out. Song three is composed of a muted version of one of the original drum machine tracks. However it is joined by gloomier bass beats, synth and….you guessed it…a sexy saxophone solo! Kind of out of nowhere but it is so groovy and awesome and totally works, balancing out this darker, industrial vibe. Quite a unique song. The drum machines on song four sound a little more filled out and groovy. The synth drones that enter are texturally a bit softer or lighter. Song five is made up of free form, sporadic cymbal crashes and synths mixed with walls of ambient, echo-y drone. It sounds quite chaotic. Song six begins with a heavy down-tempo, drum set rhythm mixed with synth drones of epic proportion. The spooky ambience can still be heard in the remix. The synths build in volume sounding quite suspenseful and scary towards the end of the song. The last remix phase shifts the original synth melody sounding pretty cool I might add. The bass beats are slightly more down tempo, taking a more casual approach but still maintains this dark and industrial aesthetic. Gentle, harmonious synth drones fade in atop the drums, submerging the original melody.

cassette for purchase/full stream:

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