Review: Nodolby / Marsha Fisher split (Activated Skeleton, Feb 18)

Even amidst unprecedented uncertainty and turmoil, 2022 keeps on giving in the smallest but brightest of ways, this time in the form of a brilliantly titled new small batch label out of Minneapolis and its debut release, a split tape between Italian junktronics stalwart Nodolby and Activated Skeleton’s founder/operator, Minnesota’s own Marsha Fisher. Unfortunately the run of 20 handmade copies has already sold out, but for $3 you get the digital versions and the excellent collage from which each unique j-card was cut (a steal, as I’m sure you could guess). “Nastri del Misterio,” Nodolby’s single suite on the A side, is a phantasmagoric stumble through recycled and exhumed sound of all sorts, sometimes clumping up into hallucinatory knots of radio grabs and lo-fi field recordings with a Carnival of Souls–esque haunted psychedelia (think the early work of Nome Morto/Cássia Siqueira), other times dissolving into sloppy cut-ups and errant looping. Fisher responds with a set of three radical tape works that somehow cover an even wider range of energy levels: “9-26-2021” is a harsh, workshed-industrial bricolage of analog noise and boisterous percussion improvisations that’s immediately followed up with the muffled, tiptoeing reticence of “10-30-2021,” and then the two approaches are combined for “12-27-2021.” While certainly different, both sides are very much of that irreverent abstract tradition that I can never get enough of.

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