Grøn – Grøn (Infinite Waves, 2014)

This mysterious 25 minute cassette comes out of a project with only one previous tape to their name, but their anonymity and obscurity don’t degrade the quality of their music at all. Carved from some of the same Lo-Fi Ambient and Drone we’ve seen out of Constellation Tatsu’s roster, Grøn bring this ethereal and cerebral air to this side of the Atlantic in their latest and self-titled release.

There are no tracks, only the two sides of the tape (although their website does list Side A as being split into two pieces which does make sense when you hear it); A1 arrives on what sounds like listless guitar drone, slowly making its presence known as it emerges from the battered and ancient silent void that is the tape’s surface, capturing some of that aged appeal in its low-fidelity evolution as it does so. It’s a luxurious experience despite this though; warm and lush and filled with micro-textures that pad out its faded and distal beauty like the scratches and micro-variations of some old black and white movie reel. It passes after a delicious 5 minutes or so and fades out the same way it came in, only to be replaced by a new piece that is altogether more haunting and bleak in its presentation. A2 is more cavernous and echoic, less intimate and further away but still holding on to some piece of decrepit power as it unfurls to fill the vacuum. It shifts and shimmers and growls in new ways, twisting this way and that as the massive backfield drones are increasingly supplemented by additional material, sputtery and intermittent as they are. It sounds like a gale, hideous winds blowing and battering the walls outside our sanctuary in some long forgotten memory while we remain safe and secure and cosied up inside.

The B side is one track in its entirety, with twice the space to evolve than the A side pieces. There’s a static presence in the void now that wasn’t there before, a slight hiss to mask the emptiness that backdrops the careful melodies Grøn evokes here. It’s not quite as massive in its presentation as the other two, emerging not as a cumbersome block of crushed drone but instead as an almost melodic entity, gently cruising on softly oscillating beds of the same obliterated guitar, warbling and flanging as they proceed out of the darkness. There is something really engaging in their gauzy, slow burning listlessness, never sitting still and always striving to find new ways of being engaging but ultimately pushing the track towards oblivion, ceaselessly attracted to some destructive light. The music comes out of its shell but becomes increasingly obfuscated by a noisy fuzz across its duration, scouring us clean to create an emotional blank slate as it peaks in a enthralling crescendo before leaving a fragment of new and fresh-faced synth melody behind in its wake.

I was more surprised by this little cassette than I care to admit; I love its suppressed maximalism, the shifting and shuffling of textures and sounds displaced into a sea of echoic reverb and buried by currents of processed noise eating away at their extremities all combines into a really engaging and visceral listening experience. Its atmosphere seems to hint at some emotional upheaval or maturation looked at in retrospect through the veil of memory, perhaps less distant than we’d like, casting aside the throes of youthful innocence and coming to some more adult conclusions about the world.

Wait I’m talking about myself.

The tape is available in limited edition from Infinite Waves’s website.