Last copies, don't sleep. It's a new year. What better way to to kick it off than with some incredible sounds from a not too distant past, via Fern Recordings. Since launching during the middle 2000s, the Paris based imprint has shown an incredible dedication to under-celebrated efforts of underground sound, offering particular focus to works of field recording, experimentalism, and drone. Their latest release, a long overdue reissue of Small Cruel Party's legendary Resin, Parched, Chthonic, originally issued in a tiny cassette edition of 100 in 1991, is no exception to the rule. A brilliant, subtle exploration of the mysterious and beautiful qualities of sound itself, we can't think of a better way to ease into 2019.
Small Cruel Party is the moniker of William Key Ransone, a sinfully overlooked composer from Seattle who graced a number of the city's more interesting experimental ventures - Blowhole (with Jeph Jerman, etc), Yeast Culture, and Gamelan Pacifica, while, beginning in the 1980s, continuously issuing singular solo efforts. Beyond its creative accomplishments, Resin, Parched, Chthonic, originally issued by State of Flux in 1991, stands as an important historical counterpoint to the dominant perceptions of what was musically transpiring in Seattle at the moment it emerged. It's the underground, staying underground. Innovation, beyond the grasp of popular culture - encountering its creator in the midst of an crucial period of transition which would set the stage for the years which followed, shifting from a practice focused entirely on synthetically generated sound, toward one which focused on those created by purely acoustic sources.
A beautiful example of dark, brooding texture and ambience which went out of print almost immediately upon its initial release, and has never before reissued on any format, Resin, Parched, Chthonic is not only a unveiling of an often overlooked world of truly underground music during this era, but an image of the emerging approaches to electroacoustic practice at the turn of 80s and 90s, only a few short years before computers would take a dominant hold of the landscape. It is a tactile, visceral piece in the puzzle of what was to come. Stunning new master realized by Giuseppe Ielasi. Yet another fanatic and historically important effort in the hands of Fern. Two sublime slices of musique concrete which are slow to unfold and can't be recommended enough.