Review: Dart Drug – Recovery Tapes Vol. 1 (nausea., Oct 31)

The clattering straight-to-microcassette improvised music of Dart Drug, a new duo of nausea. operator Angelo Bignamini (also known as Inés Wiarda, Lucifer Big Band, Billy Torello, and now apparently LKL as well) and Marcello Groppi (who so far has released two superb solo works that are available digitally, one also on nausea., as ATRX: Phase Two and Third Report), is a perfect merging of the two Italian sound artists’ singular interests. I associate both with textures and sonorities often considered useless or undesirable—extreme low fidelity, moth-eaten recordings, grimy basement shuffle—so this humble but memorable excursion into the gloriously tinny, toddling aesthetics of mono-only, extra-thin microcassette tape. Groppi’s table is piled with electric string instruments in addition to the playback rattle, knob-twiddling, and auditory scene-splicing that occupies much of the nearly half-hour run time, presumably prepared guitar and bass that manifest as muffled, plodding plucks and metallic clamor. The interplay here is at once clumsy and calculated, two sources becoming one current in the cramped single channel. For me, the best moments on both sides is when vocal elements are used: echoing, static-soaked radio chatter near the end of side A amidst delirious, almost psychedelic toy-industrial drone; slurred speech tripping over itself and sliding into sludge midway through side B. Best to just open your ear-hole wide and let it all drain in at once.