Review: Urall – On Broken Stairs (Dadaist Tapes, May 30)

a2098632841_10I was, as the kids say, “today years old” when I discovered the Geel, Belgium–based Dadaist Tapes. They’re “funded by a cycling allowance” to give away editions of 25 free tapes in the interest of “discouraging product sales,” which is a goal with which I can definitely get on board. Though the label most likely remains incredibly obscure from any standpoint, one could say it is known by enough people since, according to their simple website, each and every copy of the nine tapes they’ve released have found a home. I’m glad to be introduced to this gem of a venture via Urall’s On Broken Stairs, a condensed suite of moth-eaten tape music that strikes the same deep dust-covered chords as Termite Acropolis and Darksmith. Swaddled in lumped-up layers of scum and fuzz, a range of disoriented emotions make attempts to break the oil-slicked surface: almost sunny no-fi drone psychedelia cracking under dizzying industrial collaging on “Melting Hands”; warbling, uneasy tranquility delicately distilled for “Everywhere We Look”; and, finally, complete, terrified delirium on “Taking Turn,” hoarse cries into the void as all around you it crumples into cold mechanical doom. All five tracks are superb compositions in their own right, each using the rich, fecund emptiness of blank (or mostly blank) magnetic tape to its fullest textural possibilities. I’ll be listening to this—digital downloads of Dadaist releases are, unsurprisingly, also free—as I sit at my computer constantly refreshing their website until I can grab the next one.

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