(Compilation Review) DIALOG TAPES [DAUW and EILEAN RECORDS]

Dialog Tapes, a collaboration between the Belgian tape label DAUW and the French CD label Eilean Records a year in the making, is a lot to take in. 2 releases of 7 tracks each: a CD from Eilean and a tape from DAUW. The release features work by Aaron Martin, Danny ClayDavid AndreeDudal, Leigh Toro, Masaya Ozaki, Miguel Isaza, Monolyth & Cobalt, Ruhe, Sokkyō (Ciro Berenguer and Heine Christensen), Stijn Hüwels, The Humble Bee, Twincities, and Wil Bolton. The plan was for each contributor to select two artists from the opposing label to work with: it works out to 15 artists coming together for 14 tête-à-tête experiments. The end result is an exhaustively complete portrait of the whole timbral spectrum within this singular niche I and so many others (i.e. devotees of 12k, Home Normal, etc.) find ourselves returning to again and again: minimal, emotive, dreamily-processed sound art.

The artists who contributed to Dialog Tapes hail from all over the world– some of them are storytellers, and some of them are simply searching for a pleasing vibration. But they are all drawn to this aesthetic, in which softsynths, droney electric sounds, and digital stutters mesh with field recordings and chords birthed from acoustic instrumentation. Here one will find soft-focus shots of pastoral scenes with grainy filaments of camera noise resting among the shadows. 85 minutes of sound from 15 different sound artists leaves a lot up to chance, but one is ultimately impressed by the evenness of the give-and-take one sees on a piece like Masaya Ozaki and electro-acoustic duo Sokkyō’s “Madoromi”– the two artistic entities are seemingly tackling different layers of one complete picture, in my mind a coastal town covered in evening mist. Elsewhere, there are more exploratory and dynamic pieces that develop slowly, like Aaron Martin and David Andree’s floating, gradually-unfurling “Collapse in Undergrowth”. With each piece, one can pick out the artists’ preferred approaches and choices in instrumentation, but still, it is admirable how the finished result always has the feel of a harmoniously-won compromise, or perhaps even an unspoken understanding.

There is really so much going on here, that it would be best to throw all words to the wind and ask you to give this project 85 minutes of your time to draw your own conclusions. If you are into ambient sounds, this one should be among your must-listens of the year.

From the CD [from Eilean Records]:

 

From the tape [from DAUW]:

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