Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Winters in Osaka / Plastic Crimewave - Swamp of Fogs LP out now on Dismantle Records

Bought this one on a whim. Was mostly attracted to the artwork and the spooky swap fonts. How could one go wrong with having a snake spiral up a tree, a gator, and a terradactal looking bird all hand drawn on yer cover? Right? 
I've seen Winters in Osaka's name around for years, but haven't delved in til now. This LP is a collaboration between Chicago artists Winters in Osaka and Plastic Crimewave, the latter is a name I do not recall seeing before. WIN lists their 6 band members with the preface on this recording as, which leads me to believe they have somewhat of a revolving line-up. PCw does not list any names, just prepared guitar/vox
Side A is one long track. It starts out pretty damn quiet with a thin drone and slowly the tide rises. Things begin to pick up speed. Whizzing hums like living inside of a bee hive. Sweeping buzz-drones make up the bulk of this track. Half way through, there's some choppiness like that of mode selecting yer DL-4 mid drone. Sort of a buzzkill but brief enough to forget about it quickly. Some degraded lo-res echo vox are added to thicken the broth. Buzzing and wavering drones make a come-back and the climax portion of the track falls away to reveal some odd pulsing and bizarre vocal echos.
Side B has all kinds of cool sounds on it. Footsteps echoing down a hall, repetitive scraping that reminds me of those windmill things with two lumberjacks perpetually sawing a log, and some didgeridoo. And that's in the first seconds! As more layers materialize, the thickness of the dark-ambient doom pulls you in. There's a lot going on here, but it not muddied or spastic. It's easy enough to latch onto a sound and follow it through, or just lie back a let it all wash over you. Erie synth? Ominous horns? I'm not really in the know, but its ambient groove from the dark side for sure. Next track has distorted guitar wanks and drums (played backwards?) along with a smooth mess of I don't know what else. The Final track is.... oh... wait a sec... I've been listening to this whole record pitched down 10% from 33rpm. Fuck. I guess it's slightly less dark than I thought... It happens... B3 is an ambient wall. Pretty solid, but not much for me to blither about. Side B of this LP always gets an instant replay.
Pressed on awesome Trans-Grey vinyl
Jacket is made of thick white paper, but still fairly flimsy.
Main gripe with the LP would have to be the low levels. Got my volume knob pegged, but aint in the red.

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