Hylé Tapes 024 : "Slow Chime" by Head Dress
Recorded in Los Angeles.
"Ted James Butler is an audio/visual artist living in L.A. who creates dark and moody soundscapes under the name of “Head Dress”, and he’s also the host of a cassette-based, underground and experimental music podcast, Norelco Mori.
His latest release, “Slow Chime”, out on Hylé Tapes, is a 4-track cassette which brings us a heavily noise infused sonic experience, with dense, tribal influences.
From the artist:
"Slow Chime, If I recall correctly, was made almost entirely on my (beloved) Make Noise system. The 4 tracks were recorded over several weeks in Los Angeles. Side A highlights some variation to repetitive themes, and the first 2 tracks are duets with a prominent percussive element amidst an atmospheric backdrop of some kind.
I was pretty devastated to hear news of Nick Talbott's recent passing, so the 3rd track is dedicated to his Warp-signed project, Gravenhurst. His albums have been a huge inspiration in my work, even though that may not be immediately evident in my recordings. This is another 2 voice piece, that quietly meanders around for a bit before slowly fading into the distance. I think I used the new KORG Electribe for the haunting pad loop, patched into the modular.”
Having a different approach than his recent "Crawl, Take" release for “Cønjuntø Vacíø.", I would say that “Slow Chime” takes the shape of a rite of passage the listener needs to experience in order to fully internalize and accept a loss, in the same way the artist did. As Lars von Trier portraits in his “Antichrist”, death is followed by the “Three Beggars”: grief, pain, and despair. Similarly, “Coats”, “Slow Chime”, and “Gravenhurst” encompass 3 different emotions experienced by the listener, who’s taken into a journey accompanied by strong percussions creating a somehow ritualistic mood. Each track seems to pick you up from where the previous left off, in an attempt to create a homogenous experience.
After you dive in the discordant and muddy subconscious created by the first 3 tracks, “Ti11262014lT”, probably my favorite from this release (and not judging by the length might I add) comes as the final catharsis that marks the listener’s emotional transformation, a piece where all the sounds from the previous ones blend into a complex, dualistic and noisy 14-minutes long track. While the first half creates the image of that inner darkness towards which we tend to gravitate in our most low and harsh moments, the second one abandons the noisy patterns for a more peaceful and almost therapeutic dénouement."
"Head Dress’ “Slow Chime” on Hylé Tapes: Delightfully Foreboding
“Slow Chime” is the latest release from Los Angeles based ambient/drone/experimental project Head Dress, now out on cassette through French label Hylé Tapes. Beginning with a minimalist ambient feel and staccato notes, the album grows and evolves into metallic sounding groans, hums and whispering static; a soundscape that is pleasantly inhuman and delightfully oppressive and foreboding. “Slow Chime” feels like the minutes before the approach of a violent summer storm. A stillness and simplicity that has charged the air with an eerie warning of what is yet to come. The final track of the album is the storm itself; suddenly the atmosphere has exhaled and jaggedly let go of its breath, a thrashing wind; all-consuming and enveloping. Head Dress creates in “Slow Chime” an environment that simultaneously suggests impending doom and yet at the same time, offers a mysterious sense of comfort.
“Slow Chime” is currently available at Hylé Tapes in limited edition numbered copies of 50 on smoky clear cassettes."