Review: Dave Public – More Than This (Hot Releases, Jun 14)

Tape music is often so engaging to listen to purely because of its inherent physicality; artists work with sound in one of its most versatile tangible manifestations, looping and yanking and scraping it across the magnetic heads. These verbs—especially “yank”—are fitting when describing the first track on More Than This, Providence-based musician Dave Public’s most recent solo release. On “Same Old Scene,” distorted clatter, gargles, and other unintelligible noises are manipulated with merciless irreverence, and a tremendously disorienting and immersive effect is created by the way in which all of the sounds seem to be constantly being pulled in every direction at once. “Prairie Rose,” a more reserved composition that serves as a foil to its much rowdier predecessor, takes the same traits in an entirely different direction. While “Same Old Scene” envelopes the listener with dynamic chunks of gunk unfurling across the stereo space, “Prairie Rose” spreads itself out like a gossamer cloud, drifting along at a pace not nearly as frenetic or restless. “NL51217” is a logical conclusion to the tape, a 2017 performance in North Carolina that spans the entirety of Public’s repertoire amidst overwhelming collages of muddled field recordings, surreal sound poetry, and gelatinous muck.

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