Review: Current Signal – Skoval Units (Oncidium, Jun 10)

a2494166740_10In an increasingly digital, metadata-stuffed music industry, it’s nice to see new ventures dedicated to obscurity crop up, whether within the streamable/downloadable vortex like and Absolute Trash Media or as obstinately physical-only tape imprints such as Born Physical Form and Research Laboratories. It’s hard to tell which is the case for Oncidium, a new label out of Providence seemingly run by Jackson Kneath (a.k.a. YÜ//F, a project that provides the other two releases in this first batch). Everything, from the cover photo of an actual cassette to the fact that all of the tracks sound like they were ripped from a tape rather than dubbed to it (perhaps both), to the explicit statement that some sort of edition is available, seems to suggest the existence of physical copies, but Bandcamp only offers digital; it appears one has to reach out individually. I’m not sure it could be any other way for Skoval Units, at least, a short set of the no-est of no-fi toolshed concrète by J and J, which is presumably Kneath and one other. Despite differences in distribution, what Current Signal’s first album and the rest of Oncidium’s inaugural lineup share with their aforementioned peers is a boundless, messy subversion of any and all convention. There’s nothing that isn’t off-limits in this disjointed montage of junk, dross, and detritus—you’ll hear jarring Spongebob clippings, random stretches of “silence,” a brief appearance of that riff at the end of “We Will Rock You” that sounds like it was recorded with a supermarket toy guitar—but there are also moments of beauty lodged in the sediment, like the woozy, blown-out bit of bliss around a third of the way into side A. Keep weirdness alive: buy a mysterious homemade tape today.

Edit: Oncidium tapes can now be purchased on Bandcamp!