Review: Dressing – Dressing (Krim Kram, Apr 29)

From Cork’s newest noise et al. label Krim Kram comes the first widely available material by Kevin Kirwan’s Dressing project, and even standing shoulder-to-shoulder with two stalwart avant cornerstones (representing the BUFMS and the LAFMS, respectively) in this inaugural batch, the Dublin-based tape- and feedback-wrangler delivers some compelling, memorable, and truly striking music. Culled from two micro-edition C20s Kirwan put out himself last year on Dul Amú (early Barn Sour catchall disc when???), the four tracks that comprise this self-titled offering can all be heard as meditations on/in abandoned, dilapidated dwellings, meticulous orchestrations of all the noises and nightcrawlers that scuttle in the shadowy corners. “Knotted Thought” is titled appropriately, making ample use of the same tensile head-scrubbing that gives the Nevari Butchers their creeping hangman’s horror, while in the following track both more reserved (“Warm Routine”) and more abrasive (“Enduring Mercy”) moments bring to mind a wide range of other analog-based contemporaries, from Urall to Shredded Nerve. But even though Kirwan’s work certainly seems to engage with the still-thriving tape noise tradition and all its innumerable facets, there’s something fundamental about it that sets it well apart, something I can’t quite yet put my finger on. Perhaps because it is likely not something, but many things: the rage buried within even the most anemic of distortion blasts, the spiderweb logic that imbues the disarming cut-ups and jagged layers with some kind of sense, the way the sound seems to deny even as it explores. Long story short, I know for a fact that I am in no way prepared, but very much excited for whatever Kirwan has in store for the upcoming Oxen release.

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