Review: Gaped – Fever (Veil Tapes, Oct 27)

Especially within the last few years, I’ve heard so many mind-blowing subversions and evolutions within the wall noise genre that my taste has come full circle: I now appreciate releases more in line with the roots of the tradition just as much as those that so flagrantly flaunt what are already extremely esoteric conventions. That’s not to say one is less interesting than the other—in most cases, including this one, far from it. Via both his solo project Twin Aperture and imprint Veil Tapes, Eric Anders Benson has been providing a friendly neighborhood source for no-frills, incisive wall material and other goodies, making a certain unmistakable strain of unyielding analog grit his trademark. It’s present to varying degrees in all five tapes in the new Veil batch-only drop, a selection that spans both the label’s core purview and its more eclectic interests (the latter fulfilled with the retrospective synth-drone discography of now-inactive Massachusetts artist Aspekte Konstant). But the one that has captured my attention the most is the bagged C81 that may or may not be the physical-plane debut of the anonymous Gaped. It’s described, in the shortest of the five blurbs, as “hyper-focused,” and Fever follows through on that and then some. During my first listen, every check of a clock was a moment of brief alarm as I wondered where all the minutes went; these two lengthy untitled tracks gobble time like it’s a last meal. I often write about the duration-distorting effect of static or even just slow-moving noise, but here a new height is reached with a setup that sounds like it could be just a few carefully chosen pedals. Persistent yet lethargic kinesis, tape-dulled rough edges, an almost psychedelic constitution… this is the kind of wall I can get so lost in I forget I’m even listening to it but still rewards any extent of deep attention. Might be worth buying the whole bundle just for this one, if you ask me. And uh, oh yeah, stay safe out there.