Review: Sophie Sleigh-Johnson – Nuncio Ref! (Crow Versus Crow, May 6)

Though the works that first exposed me to Halifax’s Crow Versus Crow—Shit Creek’s The Land of the Remember and Cahn Ingold Prelog’s Accelerate—were comparatively less voice-centric, the label’s most recent output has traced a piecemeal but still comprehensive survey of the best of U.K.-based babblers. Sophie Sleigh-Johnson is probably not as familiar of a name to most (at least compared to prolific stalwarts like Posset, Yol, and Brandstifter), but her debut(?) tape Nuncio Ref! is all the introduction you’ll need. From the cryptic Nyoukisy liner notes to the devoutly specific source material and structural logic at work in the actual music, these “first-baked tape works” (Sam and Ella? sorry, never heard of them) are both individually and collectively superb sonic arcana, the overall suite landing somewhere in the mutual outskirts of surreal radio play, hermitic tape collage, and text-sound. I firmly recommend that anyone even remotely interested in any of those art forms check this album out in its entirety, but if you really need a sample, look no further than “Napoleon’s Violet,” an easy standout that offers everything from dictaphone skronk and tactile clutter concrète to elastic speech glitching that would make Mr. LPC proud. In summary, really excited about this one. So gather ’round children, “it’s feeding time at the revised pit.”

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