Review: Dan Gilmore – Pulped Memoir (Hologram, Jan 21)

Whether he’s muttering half-nonsensical fragments of mundane conversation or crouched in a corner with an old tape recorder, Careful Catalog operator Dan Gilmore sticks to the shadows when making his “music.” Unlike Undercovers, the other album of his that I’ve heard, which consisted entirely of his voice—trivial, mumbling speech about eminently forgettable topics—Pulped Memoir widens the lens to a much wider array of sound materials, most of which are pleasantly drenched in blankets of fuzz and dust. Piecemeal opener “Dinner Theater” fluidly progresses through a variety of minuscule sonic events, the imperfect cone of sound capture directed toward radio broadcasts, screeching metal clatter, and chimes, the many spots and spaces in between filled in with the complementary frailty of body shifts, whistling, and playback manipulation. Pulped Memoir is a reasonably short release that is nonetheless unconfined by any unifying approach; whether Gilmore is stitching layers of tentative Connors-esque electric guitar phrasings and low-end squawk (“Transition Lenses”), muscularly pulling together erratic tape ephemera like that cruise ship scene in Spider-Man: Homecoming (“Autumn in New York”), or sticking to a single, unidentifiable source, as is the case with the title track, which devotes its entire runtime to a stretch of meditative, languid cacophony somewhere between the New Blockaders and an instrumental lullaby that progressively grows sharper and more crystalline. I hope I’m doing this CD justice; we’re only a month in to 2021 and I’m already prepared to declare it release of the year.