Taiga Remains
Works For Cassette
LP HMS 026

Igloo Magazine
September 2014

Setting out with “Sup Pralad,” signature Taiga Remains guitar tones pick a way through their own reverberant trails, sitar-esque overtones and reverse motifs swim up then fall back into the aether, a soft carpet of tape hiss and saturation a backdrop against which the ceremonials are projected. “There’s Nothing” finds guitar lost at sea, in a drowned world of drift. “Skin, Leaves” is the loneliest and least modulated, turning more troubled in tenor two-thirds of the way, ending distinctly doleful. The last two tracks, from Thereafter, recorded slightly later, are perhaps closer to more serene recent work—more refined than those from Beeches. Tape’s state-altering properties again grant a gratifying grain, feedback edges affording engaging high-end indeterminacy to the warm swells of “Winter Tai-Tung,” a time-lapse mantra of harmonized overtone clouds evolving through a state of perpetual (un)becoming. The decay of Cobb’s studies lies in one figure chromatically dissolving, diffusing in turn into another, cycling on to meet its successor, vapor trails left in suspension. On “Spring Shan-Lin-Shi” smears of glowing legato tones indulge in wavering interplay, the only gesture to dynamics a periodic of mercurial moves over guitar strings releasing remote surface resonances. Methods and materials may be familiar—Cobb may well have spent time at the Chalk face, dallied in Eliane’s den, but he takes the best of the genre tropes, and bends them to his hypnagogue will and tonal wiles—at once spectral and immersive, soothing and intense. With chewier recent Cobb available, some may query the need to go back, but these pieces are ear-piquing enough to those who may have missed out originally. Ultimately, the rewards of Works for Cassette need to be worked for, ‘experimental’ demands coming not from any compositional or tonal extremes, but the depth of listening required for its effect to be fully felt. -- Alan Lockett