Review: Kal Spelletich – The Blessing of the ZHENGKE ZGA37RG (Eh?, Nov 22)

I know as little about Kal Spelletich as I do about the “custom made machine/robot instruments” they designed and built that generate the entirety of the sounds on The Blessing of the ZHENGKE ZGA37RGFrom what I can tell, the cassette is the sound artist’s first solo release, at least under their own name; according to Discogs, Spelletich was involved in a project called Seemen in the late 80s and early 90s, and with legendary performance collective Survival Research Laboraties during its tenure, but this limited run of Bryan Day’s superb Eh? imprint is the only proper recording solely credited to Kal Spelletich I can find. I hope that changes soon though, because these immersive soundscapes of assembly line whirs, the hum and grind of powerful electric motors churning gears and other knickknacks, low-register industrial rumble, and hypnotically looped discrete sound events are utterly addicting. Somewhere between the palpable physicality and passive complexity of Jean Tinguely’s audio-sculptures, the more agile collective improvisations of Day’s Seeded Plain project (in which both he and Jay Kreimer perform with handmade abstract sound devices), and the unusual use of robotics in Dirch Blewn’s stuffy Care Work tape, each of Spelletich’s compositions are unique toyboxes full of everything on your parents’ workbench that you weren’t allowed to play with as a kid: random circuit-board guts of broken appliances, boxes of spare screws, drills and clamps and scrap metal cable-and-pulley systems and… how the hell did an entire milling machine fit in here??

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