The most fascinating and consistently high-quality wall noise netlabel right now (correctly spelled A B S E N T E R R A T U M but poor WordPress can’t handle it) is back with i’m not alive, i’m an echo, which is and always will be the sole release by 𝘸𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘴𝘸𝘦𝘱𝘵.𝘸𝘢𝘷. It begins with the delicate sounds of a personal tape recorder being turned on and a muttered monologue delivered with the accompaniment of distant crickets and chattering children. I have no idea what the person is saying, nor even what language they’re speaking, but the snippet nonetheless sets the tone of the remainder of the track (poignantly titled “forever shore”) to one of somber reflection or lament—to my ignorant ears the words sound as though they could be an intimate confession, a long-held secret, a dying wish. In the wider context of the genre, these sampled introductions only really work as precursors to successful walls if the transition between the two is executed perfectly, and this one sure as hell is: upon the completion of the preamble the tape recorder shuts off again, the force of the switch being flipped allowing the noise to surge into existence with an immensely satisfying immediacy. The soft, cotton-wisp crackle is initially confined exclusively to the left channel, and for a few moments it’s as though half the light in a room has been unceremoniously clicked off. The central drama of “forever shore” is found in that missing half’s slow seep back into being, an organic but deliberate duality that forces separate processing of each current even after their volume levels equalize, forming a fluid, interactive soundscape that gradually unifies itself. It’s wonderful releases like this that demonstrate not only how beautiful static noise can be, but also how much powerful meaning it can convey.