Review: ECT – ECT1 (Machine Tribe Recordings, Oct 30)

If, like me, you were unaware what the initialism ECT stands for with regard to construction, it abbreviates “edge crush test,” which determines how much force the side of a piece corrugated cardboard can resist before crumpling. This information isn’t important to anyone not in a field where regular purchases of cardboard pieces or boxes with varying strengths, but it does also provide the unusual artwork for the brand new Brooklyn wall noise project of the same name’s debut, and since there’s not much of anything else to go on, every detail counts. “Detail” is also the name of the game in the 75-minute ECT1, a thin but loud slab of static built from expansive, membranous crackle currents that are simultaneously muffled by low fidelity and bejeweled with complex textures. I’ve discussed how the general “motion” or kinesis of a wall is often an important, even an essential aspect, but it’s hard to pin down exactly where the endless flow of cacophonous plasticine rattle originates and terminates, even in the abstract sense: it seems to lean in like twin bowing tidal waves curling from both channels, rise upward in a self-replenishing geyser, and fall from a fixed point as a constant sheet of precipitation all at the same time. But this absence of a consistent form to latch onto and follow somehow makes ECT1 even more hypnotic than it would (I imagine) be otherwise; to listen is to drift unmoored somewhere there isn’t anything to moor to in the first place, the surroundings both embodying and resisting reality all the while. And to cap it all off, later on in the piece there are also some unexpected variations that will have you questioning your sanity. You’ll have to just experience that on your own.

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